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Wind power job hopes for port

PUBLISHED: 13:57 08 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:52 06 July 2010

THE owner of three sea ports in Suffolk and Norfolk is hoping for further growth in contracts and jobs after the granting by the Government of concessions for the construction of more offshore wind energy developments around Britain.

THE owner of three sea ports in Suffolk and Norfolk is hoping for further growth in contracts and jobs after the granting by the Government of concessions for the construction of more offshore wind energy developments around Britain.

With one of the nine new schemes involving a site off the coast of Norfolk, Associated British Ports, which includes the ports of Ipswich, Lowestoft and King's Lynn, says they are ideally placed to support the successful bidder.

“They are ideally suited to support the consortia and offshore wind production in the Norfolk Zone in the North Sea. Discussions are currently taking place with a large number of industry players that could see ABP's ports become the major hub of activity,” said ABP today.

Nick Ridehalgh, port director for short sea ports at ABP, said the Port of Lowestoft was already home to SLP Energy and the operations and maintenance base for the Greater Gabbard windfarm, authorised under the previous round of offshore wind power applications, with Siemens also operating out of the port to support the building and commissioning phase of the windfarm.

“Lowestoft is in a fantastic position to serve some of the biggest developments in the North Sea and ABP is working to make sure the big names base themselves here,” said Mr Ridehalgh.

Patrick Walters, ABP's commercial director, added: “It makes sense for the offshore wind industry to take advantage of the UK's existing port infrastructure being so close to the offshore zones.

“ABP has already developed specialist expertise in this field and has a track record of providing excellent facilities for this growing industry.”

The successful bidder for the new 7.2 gigaWatt Norfolk Bank Zone scheme is East Anglia Offshore Wind Ltd, a joint venture equally owned by Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall Vindkraft.

Other offshore wind schemes approved yesterday involve sites off the Moray Firth, Firth of Forth, Dogger Bank, Hornsea, Hastings, Isle of Wight, the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea. Construction work is due to start between 2013 and 2015.

Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said: “Our island has one of the best wind energy resources in Europe and today's news shows we're creating the right conditions for the energy industry to invest in harnessing it.

“This is one of the strongest signals yet that the UK is locked irreversibly into a low carbon, energy secure prosperous future.”

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