In 20 years, Lowestoft and Yarmouth could be at the helm of the world’s renewable energy industry.
This was the message to come out of a major conference in Lowestoft yesterday which saw more than 100 businesses from East Anglia and north Germany meet to discuss the future of the offshore wind industry.
The Offshore Wind conference, which was organised by European Power (Pushing Offshore Wind Energy Regions Project), was the first time the project had brought together businesses in two North Sea regions with a view to partnership working.
Yesterday, Michael Moll, UK manager for the Power project, said the conference was about realising the massive worldwide potential of the North Sea region as a whole.
He said: “At the moment, we market the east of England as Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, but by working with our North Sea partners, we have the knowledge and experience to become the global leaders in this field.
“A major part of today is that Germany is the global leader in onshore wind energy, while the east of England has more than 30 years of experience in building offshore through the oil and gas industry.
“Now it is about sharing that expertise on both sides; it is about complementing industry, not competing.
“By working as one – the North Sea region – we keep the investment in Europe and we can then compete with the rest of the world.
“In the next two or three decades, we could be supplying a worldwide market: there is edp24.co.ukmassive potential in places like south- east Asia and Japan.”
More than 30 German delegates travelled to the conference, taking time to question British companies about successful schemes, including Yarmouth’s Scroby Sands windfarm.
Yesterday, Jan Rispens, of WAB (Windenergie-Agentur), a German body that promotes wind energy, said the conference had been extremely positive.
He said: “North Germany and the east of England are two very complementary regions: in Germany we have little offshore experience, while this region has a wealth of experience from serving the oil and gas industry.
“This is the beginning of a renewable age, and European governments are setting very ambitious targets to cut CO2 emissions, and the offshore wind market has the greatest potential.
“In the coming decades, we are going to see development across the whole of Europe and the world, and that will be very lucrative to the North Sea region.”
The news comes as work on the £6.4m Orbis Energy centre at Ness Point in Lowestoft is about to begin. The centre will provide a home for a number of businesses with interests in the offshore energy sector.
Last night, Waveney District Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration and the environ-ment, Wendy Mawer, said the conference had been a major boost for Lowestoft.
She said: “It is just so wonderful to have all these people who are involved in the offshore wind industry here in Lowestoft, and we have had a lot of interest in the Orbis centre, which is fantastic news.”
By Lynette Alcock
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