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Energy giant commits to Norfolk supply chain for wind projects

PUBLISHED: 08:59 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:59 28 March 2018

Vattenfall procurement manager Rob Lilly. Picture: Julian Claxton

Vattenfall procurement manager Rob Lilly. Picture: Julian Claxton

Julian Claxton Photography

A call has gone out for businesses “rooted in Norfolk” to get involved with two multi-billion energy projects which will last for the next 25 years.

Delegates at Vattenfall's Meet the Buyer event at Norwich City Football Club with representatives from Vattenfall and the East of England Energy Group which organised the event. Picture: Julian ClaxtonDelegates at Vattenfall's Meet the Buyer event at Norwich City Football Club with representatives from Vattenfall and the East of England Energy Group which organised the event. Picture: Julian Claxton

Swedish energy company Vattenfall said it wants to keep the investment from its Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farms within the region, ensuring the benefits trickle down the supply chain.

Procurement manager Rob Lilly met businesses yesterday, after a “meet the buyer” event at the SNS2018 conference was cancelled due to snow, to find out how they could fit into the two 1.8GW projects’ supply chain, with construction anticipated to begin between 2020 and 2021.

Mr Lilly said he was looking for partnerships to last the 25-year lifetimes of Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas.

“We are interested in companies prepared to diversify into the offshore wind sector, innovative companies and companies that are truly local, not just international businesses that have a Norfolk address,” he said.

Susan Falch-Lovesey, local liaison officer and skills champion for Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas at Vattenfall's Meet the Buyer event. Picture: Julian ClaxtonSusan Falch-Lovesey, local liaison officer and skills champion for Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas at Vattenfall's Meet the Buyer event. Picture: Julian Claxton

“We want the money we invest to stay in Norfolk. We are looking for people we can work with and develop in Norfolk for the next 20 to 30 years.”

Vattenfall’s plans had caused uproar in communities affected by the proposed 60km cable to connect the wind farms to substations. However, the company confirmed last month it would use HVDC (high voltage direct current) technology, which requires a narrower cable corridor than the HVAC (alternating current) alternative, without needing relay stations.

Vattenfall has said it will consider splitting contracts into smaller packages to offer opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses. Mr Lilly added it was not only offshore businesses that the energy company was hoping to work with as a range of services, such as fabrication, plant hire and hospitality, will be required.

Nova Fairbank, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce public affairs manager, welcomed the announcement. “Vattenfall can offer supply chain opportunities to a diverse range sectors and, more importantly, they are keen to ensure that their investment remains within the region,” she said.

Vattenfall will be among more than 70 exhibitors at the re-organised SNS2018 on May 16 and 17.

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