As part of Offshore Wind Week, Richard Goffin, Port Director at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth gives his take on the potential future of offshore wind for Great Yarmouth, the key role that the port is playing today and in the future and how this growing sector will quickly see our homes and businesses powered purely by renewable electricity.
We all know that the energy market is changing fast to meet modem demand for clean, future-facing energy sources. What might sound less familiar is the fact that coastal towns in the UK such as Great Yarmouth are at the very centre of supporting the world’s offshore wind production.
If you consider that the UK has more windfarm capacity than rest of world combined and that 70 per cent of that power is generated on the east coast of the UK, you might begin to understand how a successful seaside resort town is well and truly in pole position when it comes to leading the charge on supporting offshore renewables on a national scale.
Great Yarmouth sits at the heart of the largest offshore renewable cluster in the world. In the last 12 months, as owners of Peel Ports Great Yarmouth, Peel Ports Group and its partners have invested a total of £7m in upgrading facilities to support our capacity to handle offshore energy requirements. The port’s transformation has been a revelation locally and reflects the changing economy on the UK’s east coast.
Historically, Great Yarmouth has long supported the offshore energy sector, acting as a key site for the oil and gas sector, and this is still very much part of the operation at Great Yarmouth, but things are changing. A key area of growth for us is the handling of components and maintenance support of the offshore wind sector. Thanks to Great Yarmouth’s deep water and location, the installation, commissioning and maintenance vessels are able to access sites more efficiently than from other ports along onthe east coast of the UK.
As we move from more traditional forms of offshore energy related structures to renewable energy installations, we are in a period of transition, with each of these sectors at different stages of their lifecycle. Importantly, the skills and activities we’ve gained from supporting subsea and other offshore operations are wholly transferrable. Our ports are evolving to meet these changes, and through collaboration with specialist parties such as A&P and heavy lift contractors, we are developing a quality offering, which is pivotal in attracting activity to UK ports.
We are fully committed to investing in the future of Great Yarmouth, but our activities need to work for everyone involved which is why we are consulting with the UK’s energy market and the local economy to ensure we shape the future together. As part of our master planning, we are assessing the viability of an outer harbour expansion at Great Yarmouth to support the renewable push. At Peel Ports we have delivered significant investments in recent years, notably the opening of Liverpool2, a deep-water container terminal and our London Medway cluster.
Currently, there is around 5GW of renewable power being generated in the Great Yarmouth hinterland, but with a further 20 GW (enough for around 30 to 40 million people) worth of projects, planned, consented or under construction in the area, Great Yarmouth is in the unique position to capitalise on a palpable appetite for renewable technology both locally and across the UK. Indeed, within the next 30 years it is hoped that we will be powering our homes and businesses with renewable electricity alone, and ports such as Great Yarmouth will be pivotal in making this goal a reality.
Source: Peel Ports, 14 November 2017