As well as a number of strong and established sectors, Essex is poised to benefit from significant growth in the offshore wind energy sector.
With a national target to deliver some 40GW of offshore wind energy by 2020, Essex is at the centre of the world’s largest market for offshore wind deployment and the UK’s most dense area of offshore wind energy development.
The value of the offshore wind sector is set to grow from an estimated £130 million in 2008/9 to £138 billion in 2020 presenting Essex companies with a unique opportunity.
Essex is well poised to contribute to and benefit from this growth industry. The proximity of the UK’s east coast deep-sea ports and planned offshore wind farms, a well established manufacturing and ports and logistics, and access to a wide skills base provide great opportunities for Essex to attract investment in this sector. Essex companies can play a significant role in the supply of goods and services within the sector and take advantage of this considerable economic opportunity for the expanding wind supply chain.
Opportunities in Essex
Harwich International Port is already heavily involved. It was used for the installation of the Gunfleet Sands wind farm and is currently being used as the installation port for Greater Gabbard – currently the world’s largest offshore wind farm under construction. In addition, Harwich is the installation port for the first round of turbines for London Array I.
Expansion at Bathside Bay (adjacent to Harwich International Port) would offer additional land, which would build on the experience the port already has to offer.
London Gateway, on the Thames Estuary has both land and quay space that could support manufacturing. Significantly the precision engineering, aviation and the automotive sector based around Basildon are likely to be key complementary sectors that could contribute directly to the offshore energy supply chain.
Both Chelmsford and Colchester have an expanding skill-base, supported by a strong financial services sector in Brentwood; engineering strengths across Braintree; offshore marine skills in Maldon, and growing R&D cluster around Harlow all of which will bring substantial value to the wind energy sector in terms of manufacturing expertise, innovative product development and highly skilled workforce.