Wind farm under way by next year

THE WORLD'S largest offshore wind farm near the Suffolk coast will start producing electricity next year before all of the 140 wind turbines have been installed.

THE WORLD'S largest offshore wind farm near the Suffolk coast will start producing electricity next year before all of the 140 wind turbines have been installed.

Work on the Greater Gabbard wind farm 26km out to sea will start in 2009 with a planned completion at the end of 2010.

The development on land at Sizewell where a substation is required will start in July - the location was moved to Sizewell Wents after public opposition to a proposed site near Home Farm south of the Sizewell Gap Road.

The turbines, one kilometre apart, will be in a location roughly parallel with Felixstowe, Harwich and Clacton. The area was chosen for high wind speeds, no known environmental problems, a low water depth, and a good connection to the National Grid via Sizewell.

A cable will go undersea to the new substation and another cable will connect this with the Sizewell A power station.

This is a huge project but visitors to a drop-in information meeting at Leiston community centre were told that the wind farm and the substation could be finished within the next 30 months.

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Fishermen have expressed concern about the impact of wind farms on fishing grounds but Mike Scott, a project manager for the wind farm development, said: “There are two sandbanks that run down over there, the Galloper and Gabbard, and fishermen do not fish around there which is one of the beauties of the location.

“We are probably going to have one transportation point on mainland UK - we are looking at Felixstowe, Yarmouth, Lowestoft or Harwich - with barges taking things out to the site and probably one point in Europe.

“We have had a weather mast on the site for two-and-a-half to three years to measure the wind speed and that speed is pretty constant.”

Mr Scott said it was unlikely that the public would be able to see the wind farm from the Suffolk coast and he added most wind farms were closer to the shore.