Greater Gabbard wind farm opens off East coast
- 7 August 2013
- From the section England
The second largest offshore wind farm in the world has been officially opened off the Suffolk and Essex coast.
The Greater Gabbard farm aims to produce enough energy for 500,000 homes and will provide hundreds of jobs.
Energy and Business Minister Michael Fallon said he wanted to see the wind industry "grow even further", calling it an "engine of our economy".
The 140-turbine project will double in size once the Galloper wind farm extension is completed in 2017.
Greater Gabbard cost £1.3bn to build and is capable of producing 500MW of energy.
Mr Fallon said: "The UK leads the world in offshore wind power generation with more capacity than the rest of the world combined, and we want to see this sector grow even further.
"Greater Gabbard has already brought jobs and wider benefit to the local community, with hundreds of people employed on site.
"This sector is an engine of our economy. By the end of this decade, tens of thousands of additional jobs could be created in the supply-chain for offshore wind throughout the UK."
Asked if the government was weak on its renewable energy policy Mr Fallon added: "Other countries like Germany and Denmark got further ahead but we're rapidly catching up.
"We need more home grown energy from all sources and we can't be too dependent on international gas and oil prices.
"Wind and other sorts of renewables are becoming an important part of the energy that we need."
The Department of Energy and Climate Change said offshore wind has the potential to provide enough power for 11 million homes in the UK by the end of this decade, creating 30,000 jobs and contributing £7bn to the economy.
During his visit, Mr Fallon said it was becoming clear that East Anglia was establishing itself as a capital for both renewable and traditional energy companies.
Opening the wind farm, he said: "Greater Gabbard has already brought jobs and wider benefit to the local community, with hundreds of people employed on site, and a £150,000 fund created to support local initiatives."
The world's largest operating offshore wind farm - the London Array - was opened by the Prime Minister last month, with 175 turbines.