Wind power puts Great Yarmouth at centre of energy revolution

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world.

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Boreas and Vanguard projects promise to be among the largest in the world. - Credit: Vattenfall

Great Yarmouth is at the heart of new developments that will see it and the wider area power the future of more and more of England. 

The planning go-ahead for the Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm in February following the earlier approval for its sister Boreas Wind Farm are a major step forward for the contribution and development of the area. 

Taken together the turbines of the two wind farms 45 miles off the Norfolk coast will be able to generate enough electricity to power four million homes.

Vattenfall's plans for a new windfarm off the Norfolk coast have been delayed by up to five months.

Great Yarmouth is set to benefit from the building of major windfarms off our coast - Credit: Archant

The scale of the combined project will bring further national and international attention to the area, will improve the local skills base, and create further employment and business opportunities for Great Yarmouth and the wider area. 

The project will not only make an economic contribution it will also be important in the drive to create a sustainable, low carbon energy future. 

The combined Norfolk wind power zone is projected to save six million tonnes of CO2 each year, contributing to no less than the planet’s future. 

The projects will create a significant number of jobs in its construction phase plus continuing economic benefits as the wind farms start generating from the mid-2020s onwards.

One of Vattenfall's windfarms, at Kentish Flats. The Vanguard and Boreas wind farms proposed off the

One of Vattenfall's windfarms, at Kentish Flats. The Vanguard and Boreas wind farms proposed off the Norfolk coast will produce 2.6 Gigawatts, enough power for more than two million homes. Pic: Robin Dawe/ Perfectly Clear Marketing - Credit: Robin Dawe/ Perfectly Clear Mark

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The two projects being developed together means that the amount of disruption to the local area can be reduced. 

Vattenfall UK country manager Danielle Lane pledged that the company would ensure that the twin development will “bring lasting benefit to the East of England".

Martin Dronfield, the executive chair of East of England energy group EEGR, spelled out the benefits for the area: “The two wind farms will bring new jobs to the region, both for our young people and also for our existing workforce transitioning from other sectors. 

“It will also bring investment locally as the local supply chain clusters around the project delivery hubs, and other ports are developed and it will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.” 

James Fisher and Sons business development director Martin Dronfield.

James Fisher and Sons business development director Martin Dronfield. - Credit: Archant

One of the people seeking to ensure that and make sure the local community gets as much as possible out of the development is senior community manager for the Norfolk Zone, Denise Hone.  

She started her role there in the very week business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng MP announced the go ahead for the second wind farm.   

She said: “I know from personal experience the massive investment that offshore wind is bringing to East Anglia, and the real opportunities for businesses and individuals in the area in terms of a pipeline of work, training and retraining.

"Many of the people in my previous business had retrained from oil and gas to work in offshore wind. 

“Their lives have been changed by offshore wind, and so has mine. My career means I can remain in my home region to bring up my two children. 

“We now need to make sure we grab the opportunities these projects can bring for our region to play a leading role in the global offshore industry.” 

She may be relatively new in the post, but the Vattenfall team has been working for six years engaging with the community getting their input to help minimise the impacts on the environment and communities as well as maximising the benefits. 

That will continue with further engagement including giving local people the chance to see the work on the ground as it develops. 

Ms Hone added: “We’re particularly looking forward to giving residents the chance to see first-hand archaeological works that give us fascinating insights into Norfolk’s past. 

“We’ll also be taking our Community Benefit Fund work to its next stage. To make sure that the funding can roll out when cable laying work starts, we have a lot of work to do to set up the best possible fund to support communities to tackle climate change. 

“That might be an electric bus, cycle paths, or nature projects in our communities – we want to explore all the options and opportunities.” 

Altogether, if the opportunities are seized, the offshore wind developments can lead to some attractive benefits onshore.