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Windfall for Jobs

PUBLISHED: 10:31 10 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:28 05 July 2010

BUSINESSES in the Lowestoft area are in a prime position to benefit from a jobs bonanza it was heralded this week as the Government confirmed it wants to see more people switch to greener energy supplies.

BUSINESSES in the Lowestoft area are in a prime position to benefit from a jobs bonanza it was heralded this week as the Government confirmed it wants to see more people switch to greener energy supplies.

The East of England is on course to deliver 20pc of energy consumed from renewable sources by 2020 - well over the 12pc target set by the Government.

The rapid advance of renewable energy was given at the European week of Regions and Cities conference in Brussels and could give a £1bn boost to the region's economy and create up to 75,000 new jobs.

The 1st East Urban Regeneration Company is working to ensure that Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth receive the maximum benefit from the opportunity and a proposed PowerPark in Lowestoft is crucial to their plans.

1st East chief executive, Philip Watkins, said: “As an employment-led urban regeneration company it's our job to attract new businesses and bring jobs to the waterfront areas of the town.

“A major initiative to encourage this is the plan to create the PowerPark, extending from Ness Point southwards into the outer harbour. The idea is to use the land and water facilities to attract a new cluster of energy related businesses.”

Mr Watkins continued: “Gulliver, OrbisEnergy and the imminent arrival of Airtricity are all aspects of the PowerPark development.

“Renewables, in particular off-shore windfarms provide a wonderful opportunity for Lowestoft, capitalising on the existing skills and business expertise of companies such as SLP and AKD Engineering.

“1st East have had productive discussions with the port operator, Associated British Ports, about how together we can maximise the opportunities of the harbour to support these energy developments.”

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard is also working hard to make sure Lowestoft does not lose out on any potential benefits the switch to green energy can provide.

The MP has held talks with Crown Estates about the new sites for offshore windfarms off the East Anglian coast.

“This means thousands of new wind turbines in the southern North Sea that will need manufacturing, installing and maintaining. Lowestoft is the nearest port,” he said.

“Crown Estates are also studying how to deliver all this. We need it to keep our lights on and help prevent global warming and sea level rise which would engulf large parts of Waveney.

“Many of the turbines will be 50km offshore, so accommodation modules will be needed for those who maintain them. In Lowestoft we know a thing or two about building those,” said Mr Blizzard.

The MP also said he was proud that Airtricity, the company behind the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm to be constructed off the Suffolk coast, has chosen Lowestoft as its operational base.

Airtricity is one of the first companies to move in to the new £9m OrbisEnergy building at Lowestoft's Ness Point.

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