East of England Business Ready to Fight for Share of Wind Energy Market
While the East of England energy industry is poised for a massive portion of the £50bn capital investment over the coming decades, there are signs that the region’s businesses are already spending a small fortune to ensure they are properly prepared to fight for a slice of the cake.
“There’s clearly tremendous confidence and professional enthusiasm from our local supply chain,” said James Gray, inward investment director for the East of England Energy Zone.
“Yes, we are looking to the multi-million global companies for the major offshore developments and to keep the gas pipelines flowing but our businesses are not sitting back and waiting; they are investing money to put their name in the frame for some major contracts.”
Mr Gray is further encouraged by increasing Government support for the region with Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft included in the final Assisted Area Status (AAS) map.
And last week the energy coast received further recognition with news that Beacon Park, part of the Great Yarmouth & Lowestoft (New Anglia) Enterprise Zone, will receive £3 million of Government infrastructure funding.
It will help Great Yarmouth Borough Council, owner and developer of the business park, complete infrastructure to open up the whole site for development and will lever in further investment to a total of £7.3m which will see seven new industrial and office buildings constructed.
Mr Gray welcomed the news and said the enterprise zone concept was really working.
“It gives us a clear message to take across the UK and Europe about the range of assets and expertise the EEEZ can offer the energy industry,” he said.
“What has been really helpful is the Chancellor’s decision in the Budget to extend enterprise zone status until 2018.
“It’s really over the next two of three years that we will see a lot of movement in the offshore wind industry. When you look at the market, the really big stuff is going to come in the next 24 months or so.”
But he said it was vital for the Government to continue its support by insisting on a high level of UK content for all the energy projects planned for the East of England.
Recent reports showed how the local groundwork was being done for the expected business surge:
- 3sun has secured a £10m Business growth fund investment to accelerate its capabilities and increase its international role and hopes to build a new group HQ soon.
- Scottish firm Maclean Electrical is eyeing further growth opportunities in Norfolk after moving in to a new £700,000 base in Gorleston. The onshore and offshore electrical material supply company wants the base to service Southern North Sea clients from Norfolk, rather than Aberdeen.
- Global Integrated Services (GIS), a specialist in the supply, inspection and maintenance of offshore safety equipment, has opened a 4,000sq.ft depot in Great Yarmouth ready for what they believe is a long-term opportunity in the region as its develops operations in Europe and beyond.
- Offshore windfarm support firm Dalby is moving its crew transfer services base from East Yorkshire to Lowestoft and has invested £4.2m in two new vessels, built by Alicat Workboats, in Great Yarmouth.
- Great Yarmouth-based ScanTech is investing £1.7million in a state of the art workshop & offices to support continued investment in its rental fleet and equipment sales.
And there is a growing focus on creating the skills needed for the influx of energy business. Launched last month was a new skills centre to become the focal point for world-class energy skills training in the East of England is to be launched in the Great Yarmouth borough in July.
The EPISCentre project will start initially from the Minerva House building near the home of EEEEGR, the East of England Energy Group, at Beacon Park, Gorleston.