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Wind of change set for Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 14:35 14 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:55 06 July 2010

A WIND of change is all set to blow through the port of Lowestoft.

For the port will become the operations centre for the Greater Gabbard Offshore Windfarm which, when completed, will be the world's largest offshore wind farm.

A WIND of change is all set to blow through the port of Lowestoft.

For the port will become the operations centre for the Greater Gabbard Offshore Windfarm which, when completed, will be the world's largest offshore wind farm.

The turbines will be located 15 miles off the Suffolk coast, and Lowestoft's Outer Harbour is being used to house the necessary operational support facilities.

Port owner Associated British Ports (ABP) is carrying out significant investment in the construction of facilities next to the Waveney Dock. The port will also play host to a fleet of high-speed offshore catamarans, capable of reaching the wind farm in approximately one hour. It is expected that the port development will generate around 150 local jobs in the town.

Alastair MacFarlane, ABP Port Manager East Anglia, said: “Lowestoft has a long-established reputation as a centre for the offshore energy industry, and the port's central role in the operation of the Greater Gabbard wind farm will only act to enhance this reputation.”

The wind farm is being developed by Airtricity, the renewables development division of Scottish and Southern Energy plc (SSE) in a 50-50 joint venture with RWE Innogy.

Airtricity's Project Director John Hill explained a little more about the windfarm. “The turbines are being installed off the Suffolk coast, adjacent to two sand banks known as Inner Gabbard and Galloper,” he said.

“Consisting of 140 offshore wind turbines and two offshore substations, the project will produce electricity sufficient to power more than 415,000 homes. Three sub-sea export cables will export the power back to shore, landing at Sizewell. The wind farm is scheduled to produce its first power later this year, with final completion in early 2011.”

An existing warehouse at the Waveney Fish Market is being converted for office use by Bidwells Building Consultancy, ready to house GGOW's onshore operational centre. The actual construction work is being carried out by ISG Jackson.

Bret Hallworth, partner at Bidwells, said: “This project will create a fully-refurbished environment from a former Waveney Fish Market warehouse, which has been empty for a number of years and will help to revive the area as a whole.”

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