I was very pleased that the Prime Minister came to open London Array. The largest wind farm in the world has been a great opportunity for local jobs and growth, and into the future the world’s largest wind farm will prove an even greater employment asset to Ramsgate and Thanet. During its construction, over 1,000 people worked on the site, which equates to an average of 300,000 man hours. Today there are over 90 local people directly employed with small businesses in the area greatly benefiting from the engineering renaissance of Ramsgate Port. Companies as well known as Siemens are now located in the port and jobs and apprenticeships are benefiting young people across East Kent.
We are thrilled that Ramsgate is now the port of choice for the Operations and Maintenance for London Array, we are looking to establish Ramsgate as the ‘Aberdeen of Wind.’ This is a real opportunity for regeneration. And Ramsgate has greatly benefited from the investment already, with direct work for fisherman, construction workers, engineers and75 local companies. In addition hotels, restaurants and bars have all done well.
The partnership between world leading renewable energy companies such as Dong, E.ON and Masdar puts Ramsgate and Thanet on the map for energy generation and cutting edge offshore technologies. London Array has the opportunity to lead the way in helping to reduce the cost of building future offshore wind farms, and inspiring further development across the country. In addition we are also now attracting other related renewable businesses to the area from coppice harvesters through to renewable heat operators. It is an exciting time to be at the forefront of this sector.
There are those who are concerned about the cost of off short wind. Today we are paying £9 per household for offshore wind out of a bill of £1300. This is a very negligible amount in comparison to having to “hedge” our energy consumption from international geo-politics.
London Array will open up a new sector to so many people, including schools who will now be inspired to consider jobs in the industry and learn more about renewables, energy and engineering. More apprenticeships will be created, as well as jobs in transport, engineering and logistics. This is an extremely exciting time for East Kent and I am very proud of what we have achieved for the local area through London Array.