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Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm
— part of the North Norfolk community

The Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm was fully commissioned towards the end of 2012, after several years in the various complex phases of construction required to achieve this remarkable feat of engineering. During its construction phase the wind farm has been a great source of interest as various state-of-the-art construction vessels have visited the Greater Wash to install foundations, turbines and lay the necessary cables to bring the electricity generated back to shore for transfer via the wind farm substation at Salle, near Cawston, into the National Grid.

Now that the wind farm is fully commissioned, operator Scira Offshore Energy has assumed complete responsibility for the routine daily operation and maintenance of the wind farm and the 60-strong team that is responsible for the daily operation has moved into its new home, the purpose built Operations and Maintenance base at Egmere, three miles south of Wells next the Sea. It is from their new home that the wind farm technicians transfer daily to the wind farm, via the Outer Harbour in Wells. Every day, weather permitting, 12 fully trained and skilled technicians visit the wind farm to carry out planned maintenance activities.

The offshore wind industry brings a wealth of opportunities to North Norfolk, in terms of both direct employment and service contracts for the local businesses which form part of the supply chain. This includes the personnel vessels which transfer the wind farm workers from the Outer Harbour to the wind farm, the suppliers who provide services and equipment and, of course, the team at Wells Harbour.

In recent years employment in North Norfolk has primarily come from leisure, tourism, fishing and agriculture. Consequently there has been a lack of relevant skills and experience in the local labour market in respect of the offshore wind industry, so education and skills development has played an increasingly important role in Scira's interaction with the Norfolk community. A schools engagement programme has been initiated, starting with an effective partnership between Alderman Peel High School in Wells next the Sea. A bursary scheme for budding engineers was launched in June 2012 to enable students to gain relevant qualifications. Furthermore, in autumn 2012 Scira initiated a trainee programme with the creation of two new positions — a trainee marine coordinator and a trainee mechanical engineer — geared towards recruiting local talent and, within a structured two year programme, giving them the experience needed to succeed in this burgeoning business.

Scira Offshore Energy aims to be a reliable supplier of green energy to the UK market for many years to come, whilst playing an important role in the life of the North Norfolk community. For more information on Scira, please visit our website: www.scira.co.uk.

Turbines and substation
The Svanen
Outer Harbour
Vanguard guard/support vessel