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£75m windfarm shuts down for repair

As the country continues to be battered by tornadoes and gale force winds, one of Norfolk’s biggest wind farms has been taken out of action again after a workman received an electric shock at the site.

While 70mph winds swept across the county, the 30-turbine Scroby Sands wind farm, built off Great Yarmouth’s coast, is still paralysed by the power failure.

The wind farm’s owners, E.ON UK, said the station was taken off line a few days after the accident to the worker. A spokesman for the company said: “He was working on a part of the cable that was dead and got a flash burn.”

Jon Beresford, asset leader of E.ON UK, said: “We’ve got a fault on one of the three cables that bring power ashore to Great Yarmouth. We’ve now found that fault and will repair it by replacing a short section.

“Although the wind farm can still operate on two out of the three cables, we’ve decided to power the wind farm down while the repairs are ongoing.”

The fault, which was discovered at the start of the month, is still being worked on because the concrete engineers had to drill through was harder than expected.

E.ON UK is hoping to have the wind farm working by the end of the weekend.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said they were called to North Denes Road, Yarmouth, at 9.53am on Monday, November 27 after the 22-year-old engineer suffered an electric shock. He was taken to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

The problem at Scroby is the latest setback to hit the £75m windfarm, which became one of the UK’s first commercial offshore wind farms when it was built in 2004. It was hailed as the beginning of a modern, safe, clean, and fertile era of energy production but, as we reported in August, the government’s first annual report painted a very different picture with the turbines generating only a fraction of the power they were meant to.

The Department of Trade and Industry report showed the Scroby Sands wind farm was riddled with mechanical problems which lowered production.

Given E.ON’s assertion that the wind farm could produce enough electricity to power 41,000 homes the figures show that during 2005 fewer than 12000 properties were actually powered by Scroby.