Suffolk port loses out in bid to provide support base for mega wind farm in North Sea
The Port of Lowestoft has lost out to Great Yarmouth in securing a support contract for a mega-sized offshore wind farm which would have created a green jobs bonanza for the town.
The operation and maintenance contract for Vattenfall’s Norfolk Offshore Wind Zone has gone to Peel Ports at Great Yarmouth - in spite of an "excellent" bid from Associated British (AB) Ports at Lowestoft.
The owners of Lowestoft's port said they were "very disappointed" as their proposal was a "strong fit".
The bid would have created around 130 "green collar" jobs for Lowestoft over the timetime of the zone.
But Great Yarmouth was chosen as Vattenfall's preferred location - subject to the government’s policy and financial framework for offshore wind.
Once completed, the zone will be able to power around 4.6m homes - making it one of the largest offshore wind zones in the world.
Vattenfall is engaging with schools, colleges and universities to encourage local awareness and boost skills needed in the sector.
"Competition was fierce to secure the agreement with an excellent bid from Lowestoft and Associated British Ports," said Vattenfall.
"With both ports offering excellent services it is clear that East Anglia’s potential as a superpower of offshore wind is secure."
Vattenfall’s base will be at Great Yarmouth's new £21.4m O&M Campus commissioned by Norfolk County Council in partnership with the borough council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
"The government must now play its role in helping to support East Anglia and the region’s efforts to secure long-term, green jobs and investment by providing a policy and financial framework that delivers value for money for customers and is investable for developers," said Vattenfall.
Rob Anderson, project director for Vattenfall’s Norfolk Zone, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with Peel Ports who’ll be providing us with a home for our Norfolk Offshore Wind Zone.
"It should be a great economic boost for the area with around 130 long-term jobs helping to manage the Wind Zone, one of the world’s largest.
"All we need now is for government to play its part by providing a financial framework that gives us the certainty we need to invest so that local people can start seeing the benefits."
An ABP spokeswoman said: "We’re obviously very disappointed that Vattenfall won’t be coming to Lowestoft for this aspect of their activities.
"We are confident that our proposal was a strong fit with the required specification and had a range of features to future proof sustainable operations."
But ABP remained committed to continuing to develop industry-leading facilities at Lowestoft to service these important sectors, she said.
"The Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility (LEEF) is a state-of-the-art and award-winning proposal for serving the growing offshore wind and oil and gas sector in the Southern North Sea energy sector," she said.
"ABP will also continue to work closely with Vattenfall to support their wider development of Norfolk Boreas and Vanguard and the Lowestoft Kittiwake Partnership."