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Great Yarmouth's offshore energy history

Great Yarmouth's unique location means the town has played an important role in energy provision. As the fishing industry entered into decline, so the oil and gas energy sector has transformed the face of Great Yarmouth over the past fifty years, with wind energy now set to ensure the sector continues to evolve.

Windmills and windpumps were essential to life in the area, now wind farms both on- and off- shore are a familiar sight, with Great Yarmouth proud to be the very first location in the UK to have an offshore wind farm providing energy to the National Grid. A small museum tells the story of wind energy, a popular visitor centre welcomes thousands of tourists every year to find out more about the power of wind energy and a boat trip out to see the turbines and the seals who sun bathe on their sunbank is a firm favourite.

1965 First well is drilled
BP discover gas. Conoco's first fixed platform in the UK North Sea is set in 90ft of water 50 miles off Great Yarmouth. The jack-up rig, Mr Cap, moves to Great Yarmouth.

1967 Gas flows from Leman
The first gas comes ashore from the Leman field. Discovered in 1966 and in production by 1968, it remains the biggest offshore gas field in the world for the next 20 years.

1968 Bacton Gas Terminal opens
The Duke of Edinburgh opens Bacton terminal.

1973 First locally-made platform sails out
Auk A is the first platform to sail out from SLP's Belvedere Road yard at Lowestoft. SLP becomes a leading player in the fabrication industry, building Britain's biggest wind turbine at Ness Point.

1986 Innovations reduce risk and cost
A project is launched to reduce manning levels on the Thames to reduce costs and risk. By 1995 the project is operated from a Great Yarmouth control room. The Weiland and Pickerill fields make Arco one of the first North Sea companies to operate remotely controlled unmanned facilities.

1992 Wind power is the future
Wind power is generated onshore at Blood Hill near West Somerton.

1998 Gas superhighway links Norfolk with Belgium
The Duke of Edinburgh returns to Bacton to open the £400 million Interconnector pipeline linking Norfolk with Zeebrugge in Belgium.

1999 A new breed of platforms arrives
Introduced on Shell's Skiff field in 2000, Trident is a much lighter, simplified not-usually-manned platform using the well as a foundation with no helideck. It is accessed by boat.

2000 Massive Investment offshore and onshore
Tullow Oil announces a £200 million acquisition of the producing gas fields and related infrastructure in the UK Southern North Sea from BP. The £185 million Great Yarmouth gas-fired power station opens.

2001 Energy has impact
An impact study reveals that the East of England's energy sector accounts for 20,000 jobs, 3.5% of GDP and £226m in capital investment, 14% of the region's total.

2003 Cables are laid for the UK's first offshore wind farm
EOn consults with the council and starts the construction project for Scroby Sands Wind Farm as soon as the main tourism season finishes.

2005 Scroby Sands shows the power of wind
Scroby Sands starts supplying the national grid with power in 2005.

2015 Celebrating 50 years in the energy sector
More than 350 companies in and around Great Yarmouth are involved in the off-shore industry, providing a crucial support role for the Southern North Sea gas fields.


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Scroby Sands wind farm

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