A2Sea to use Great Yarmouth outer harbour for Sheringham Shoals

A MAJOR wind energy firm has provided a timely boost for Great Yarmouth’s outer harbour by agreeing to use the harbour as a base until at least the end of 2011.

Danish company A2Sea will use the harbour to transport wind turbines to the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm off the north Norfolk coast.

The new contractor, announced yesterday, follows criticism the outer harbour project, funded with �20m of taxpayers money, was turning into a “white elephant” and not generating the expected number of jobs and economic growth in the town.

The firm, based in Fredericia, has installed 60pc of wind turbines across Europe and chose the outer harbour ahead of Lowestoft port because the entrance was big enough for the company’s barges.

Kaj Lindvig, sales director for A2Sea, said: “We would have preferred to find a harbour which was nearer to the site, but it is the best available in the area and we are delighted to have agreed the contract.”

Eddie Freeman, chief executive of port operator Eastport UK, said: “I am delighted that A2Sea, a highly respected and experienced company, has chosen Great Yarmouth port for its project port for the next eight to ten months, particularly in view of the stiff competition we faced.

“We have steadfastly maintained that the construction of the outer harbour will create new markets and opportunities for Great Yarmouth and this announcement, along with others recently reported, continues to endorse positively the value the development brings to Great Yarmouth and the region.”

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Mr Lindvig added A2Sea would also be installing its own cranes on the harbour’s quayside, which would be much larger than the current cranes, which will leave in April after Eastport UK scrapped plans to use the harbour for container trade.

Each barge will carry the components for six turbines from Denmark to the outer harbour and these parts will then be transferred onto jack-up vessels for transportation to the wind farm 20kms north of Sheringham.

A2Sea, which installed the turbines at Scroby Sands off the Yarmouth coast, will be installing the 88 wind turbines at Sheringham Shoals, each measuring 125m high and providing enough power annually for 3,000 homes.

Mr Lindvig said weather permitting A2Sea should be finished at the outer harbour by the end of 2011, although there was a chance the project could continue until 2012.

In 2002, A2Sea’s vessels installed more than 650 wind turbines and 300 foundations in northern Europe from the Baltic to the Irish Sea.

Critics, including former Yarmouth port welfare officer John Cooper, rounded on port bosses at a Norfolk County Council scrutiny committee meeting early in February for a lack of transparency over the harbour project.

As well as jobs and a lack of trade, concerns were also raised Yarmouth Borough Council was not renewing the leases of firms in the South Denes peninsula because it wanted to clear the area for use by Eastport UK.