North Falls’ sister project, Greater Gabbard is a 504MW wind farm located in the southern North Sea, 20 kilometres from the East Anglia coast.
Greater Gabbard represents a £1.5 billion investment and created hundreds of jobs during construction as well as 100 long-term new roles at its (then) newly built operations and maintenance base in Lowestoft. It was officially opened in 2013.
When Greater Gabbard was built it was the UK’s largest offshore wind farm, in the deepest waters and farthest from shore, so the supply chain was embryonic. It was able to utilise the vast experience of Lowestoft-based oil and gas firms and introduce multiple new suppliers into the offshore wind industry.
Local firm Windcat Workboats, provider of crew transfer vessels (CTVs) to transport technicians to and from the site is just one local success story. The industry has matured significantly since that time but continues to welcome new players, particularly from related sectors keen to transition into offshore wind.
Of the 100 new recruits to the Greater Gabbard operations base, 95% were from the local area and since inception, more than 10 local apprentices have graduated from the wind farm’s apprentice training scheme as wind turbine and balance-of-plant technicians. The wind farm has also offered junior engineer roles in disciplines including electrical engineering, SCADA engineering and control & instrumentation. Ex-fishermen have been employed to CTVs as part of the drive to find locally skilled people to fill requirements for roles.
North Falls will similarly provide contracting opportunities for local companies and career opportunities for local people throughout each phase of its lifecycle.
Greater Gabbard was a pioneering project for the UK offshore wind industry and for many years the 140-turbine site was the largest wind farm under development world-wide.
To find out more you can visit the project’s page on the SSE Renewables website.