East of England Calls for Offshore Wind Certainty

Calls for the UK government to give the offshore wind industry a clear steer on how the next round of developments will be funded were made as Siemens’ turbines were confirmed for East Anglia One.

As the UK industry was heartened by ScottishPower Renewables’ opting for as much UK content as possible in the 714MW development off the Suffolk coast, due to start construction work next year, uncertainty remains in the industry about the future of offshore wind in the UK, East of England Energy Zone (EEEZ) said.

The East of England is looking for reassurance that new developments will be built out off its coast in the next decade, bringing jobs and investment to buoy its economy and busy use of its ports, ideally placed for the farms during development and operation.

It is looking for a confirmed strategy to give confidence that more projects will follow East Anglia One.

James Gray, inward investment director of the EEEZ, said the industry needed direction and a clear indication from government what its intentions were for offshore wind and how its planning should proceed.

The decision to use Siemens’ turbines with blades manufactured in its Hull manufacturing facility, where 1000 jobs have been created in the last year, was a positive sign.

More than half the project components and services will be made and sourced in the UK.

ScottishPower Renewables chief executive Keith Anderson said East Anglia One would be the most cost-effective offshore wind farm ever delivered. The company will be accelerating discussions with East of England ports, which will be critical to the construction stage.

Its strike price of £119 had demonstrated how developers were prepared to bid aggressively to win government approvals, Mr Gray said.

“We are all working for as much UK content as possible in developments.

“This should mean opportunities for local businesses during the construction and later for operations and maintenance. Our ports are ideally placed, closest to the wind farms.”

“But we need the government to be clear in its intentions and lay out how future projects will be funded so the industry can look forward through the next decade.”

Developers would be bidding for contracts in the Contracts for Difference auctions at the end of the year.

“We need to see more projects press on so that our towns in the East of England can reap the benefit.”

“The industry has shown how it is prepared to bring the costs down. The government needs to acknowledge the will in the industry and tell it how Round 3 will be funded.”

Mr Gray is continuing his campaign around the UK and internationally on behalf of the EEEZ, a consortium of local authorities – Norfolk and Suffolk County Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Waveney District Council and North Norfolk District Council – chambers of commerce and the East of England Energy Group, Norfolk and Suffolk County Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Waveney District Council and North Norfolk District Council.

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