The world’s largest wind farm, to be built off the coast of Thanet, will bring hundreds of new jobs to the Isle of Thanet. The team behind the London Array project has chosen Ramsgate port as the location for their new 1,800sq m operations and maintenance headquarters. The move to the two-storey centre means employment for 20 office staff and 70 technicians. If approved, the building will also be used as warehouse space for storing parts for the 275 wind turbines.
The project is the second of its kind to come to the isle following the Thanet Offshore Windfarm currently being built off the coast of Broadstairs. Construction and maintenance of the Array centre is also expected to generate up to 200 jobs through extra trade for isle businesses and workers such as taxi drivers, hotels, pubs and fuel suppliers. Thanet council leader Sandy Ezekiel said:
“London Array is compiling a directory of local firms that can work with contractors. We stand to gain an awful lot from the project.”
A launch party for the directory is expected to take place in the next six weeks. During a private meeting with councillors in Cliffsend last week, London Array project director Richard Rigg said the company was in talks with Thanet College to introduce a series of specialised training courses aimed at recruiting young talent from the isle. It is believed these courses will be in mechanical and electrical engineering. Cllr Ezekiel, who was at the meeting, said:
“We are pushing Thanet forward as a hub for renewable energy. Construction of Thanet Offshore Windfarm is almost complete and London Array Thanet is very much at the forefront of renewable energy.”
London Array is made up of a consortium of Dong Energy, which has built half the world’s wind farms; E.ON, a leading power and gas company; and Masdar Initiative, which is Abu Dhabi’s leading investor in renewable energy. When complete, the £2billion project will sit to the north of the smaller Thanet Offshore Windfarm. Mayor of Ramsgate David Green said:
“It’s early days but it seems very positive. A lot of the deal has yet to be completed, however, it is good news they identified a site here in Ramsgate.”
London Array will also build a large floating pontoon creating mooring space for six, 12-person vessels.
thisiskent.co.uk 20th Mar 2010