Centre of operations

The Port of Lowestoft has been named as the operations centre for the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm which, on completion, will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The turbines will be located 15 miles off the Suffolk coast, and Lowestoft’s OuterHarbour is being used to house operational support facilities.

Port owner Associated British Ports (ABP) is carrying out investment in the construction of facilities next to the Waveney Dock. The port will also host a fleet of offshore catamarans, capable of reaching the wind farm in an hour. It is expected that the port development will generate around 150 jobs locally.

Alastair MacFarlane, ABP port manager, East Anglia, said: ‘Lowestoft has a long-established reputation as a centre for the offshore energy industry, and the port’s central role in the operation of the Greater Gabbard wind farm will only act to enhance this reputation.’

The wind farm is being developed by Airtricity, the renewables-development division of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), in an equal joint venture with RWE Innogy.

John Hill, project director at Airtricity, said: ‘The turbines are being installed off the Suffolk coast, adjacent to two sand banks known as ‘Inner Gabbard’ and ‘Galloper’. Consisting of 140 offshore wind turbines and two offshore substations, the project will produce electricity sufficient to power more than 415,000 homes.

‘Three subsea export cables will export the power back to shore, landing at Sizewell. The wind farm is scheduled to produce its first power later this year, with final completion in early 2011.’

An existing warehouse at the Waveney Fish Market is being converted for office use by Bidwells Building Consultancy, ready to house the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm’s onshore operational centre.