The world’s second largest offshore wind farm has been opened by energy and business minister Michael Fallon off the coast of Suffolk.
Despite already holding the title of second largest offshore wind farm, with its 140 turbines, the development is set to double in size in 2017, when the Galloper wind farm extension is completed.
It is hoped that offshore wind will provide enough clean energy to power 11 million homes in the UK by the end of the decade. This would see the creation of 30,000 jobs, and should add £7 billion to the economy.
The Greater Gabbard wind farm cost £1.3 billion to build.
‘UK leads the world in offshore wind power’
Fallon commented: “The UK leads the world in offshore wind power generation with more capacity than the rest of the world combined, and we want to see this sector grow even further.”
He noted that Greater Gabbard has already brought jobs and other benefits to the local community. Hundreds of people are employed on the site, and a £150,000 fund has been set up to support local initiatives.
The minister continued: “It has also benefited local business. Today, I visited Seajacks, a British company based in Great Yarmouth, who are building the world’s largest and most advanced offshore wind farm installation vessel to transport turbines out to this great wind farm.”
Renewables sector ‘an engine of our economy’
Fallon described the renewables sector as “an engine of our economy”, emphasising that tens of thousands of additional jobs could be created as part of the supply chain for offshore wind throughout the UK.
The Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy, which was published last week, set out government and industry’s joint plans to help build a thriving supply chain for wind energy in the UK.
The government promised £20 million in investment from the Regional Growth Fund in a bid to improve this supply chain, as well as £46 million to promote innovation between industry, government and academia, and help companies bring new products to market.
It is hoped that this, along with draft strike prices for renewable energy, and the Energy Bills’ long term contractors, will attract investors to the UK.