Government consent for the world’s largest wind farm, East Anglia Array One, has put the East of England at the top of the industry’s agenda – and given the signal major international energy companies had been waiting for to move forward with plans to invest in the region, said James Gray, inward investment director for EEEZ (the East of England Energy Zone).
Now EEEZ is shifting “up a gear” in its promotion of local ports for marine traffic to and from the wind farm and future developments and its encouragement of other supply chain investment, including manufacturing, operations and maintenance to the area.
Scottish Power Renewables’ go ahead to build 100 turbines – 714MW – off the East of England with the first electricity produced in 2019 had changed attitudes in the industry, Mr Gray said, after meetings with major manufacturers and developers at an industry event in Denmark.
Siting what will be the world’s largest wind farm off the Norfolk and Suffolk coast had concentrated the interest of the industry and supply chain.
During his two days at the global wind industry’s premier annual exhibition and conference, the European Wind Energy Association event in Copenhagen, positive predictions of future major developments in the southern North Sea was a strong theme, he said:
“The message coming back from this was that the go ahead for East Anglia One was high on most people’s agendas and something the industry has been waiting for some time.
“There was a general view that the momentum is very much in the southern North Sea which leaves us in a very good position for our ports and our supply chain.
“If you look at the amount of investment that will come forward in the next five years, not only is the UK the world’s greatest market opportunity but the vast majority of this investment will be in the Southern North Sea close to the East of England. There was a lot of discussion about East Anglia Array One and others in the area – Galloper, Race Bank and Triton Knoll.”
Triton Knoll (an RWE project planned off the Lincolnshire coast) was much discussed at the event now Statkraft has a share in Triton Knoll with RWE Innogy, he said.
“There is a lot of activity already in our back yard with the Sheringham Shoal and Greater Gabbard success stories , Dudgeon in construction and now EAA1 moving forward.”
“People are obviously waiting to see what the election will bring but the next Government must recognise that we now have an opportunity to push prices down and UK content up while delivering a secure energy resource to the nation.”
“Scottish Power Renewables’ target price is aggressive and a sign of confidence that wind farms in our area can be delivered at a lower cost. With the scale of the other pending developments in the area,this should demonstrate to Government and the industry that there is now a real opportunity to concentrate manufacturing , assembly and O&M activity which will push costs down further and deliver more UK content.”
“Our ports, supply chain and workforce can deliver.”
EWEA Offshore brought together more than 60 nationalities from across the world to connect suppliers, showcase new developments and build partnerships.
Mr Gray spent a “very productive” two days speaking to key companies reinforcing capabilities of the East of England supply chain and the extensive support which the unique business and political collaboration of EEEZ offers companies investing in offshore wind in the East of England.
Mr Gray also said he was delighted to see companies with a regional base, like 3sun, 4C Offshore, Alicat Workboats and Seajacks exhibiting at the event.
Image: EEEZ/ TMS Media