A reception was held at Wind Farm Place, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk on 9 January 2014 to celebrate Statkraft becoming the Operator of the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, the 88 turbine [317 MW] power plant situated between 9 to 17 miles off the coast of North Norfolk.
The two Norwegian companies, Statkraft and Statoil, are owners of this wind farm through joint venture company Scira Offshore Energy. During the construction phase of the plant Statoil led the development, and for the first year of operation the joint venture company Scira managed the daily running of the wind farm.
Statoil's many years of experience in offshore oil and gas production was crucial during the construction and initial operation and maintenance [O&M] stages of this £1 billion project. However, Statkraft is Europe's leader in renewable energy and already operates hydropower and onshore wind farms across the UK; it is therefore a natural progression for Statkraft to assume responsibility for the operation of the Sheringham Shoal Offshore wind Farm following its completion and first year of operation since its full commissioning.
The reception for around 50 people was attended by Hilde Bakken [Executive Vice President] and Gundolf Dany [Senior Vice President] of Statkraft alongside Sheringham Shoal's staff, local stakeholders including Town and District Councillors, Wells Harbour Master and Harbour Commissioners, and teachers from the local schools and colleges with which strong links have been forged.
The regional supply chain was represented by a number of local businesses which have contracts to supply a wide variety of goods and services to the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm.
Jason Halsey, Sheringham Shoal Power Plant Manager, welcomed guests to the reception, saying:
"Statkraft taking responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm is a highly significant change for all of us working here; it means we are now part of a global power generator which will bring many benefits to the business and opportunities for its employees.
"Outwardly though, nothing will change. The focus of our activity still centres around HSE, production availability, and reducing the cost of generating energy. We will continue to recruit locally here in North Norfolk wherever possible, and we have an on-going commitment to support the local supply chain."
At the end of the formal presentations, the Leader of North Norfolk District Council Councillor Tom FitzPatrick congratulated all those who had contributed to the successful establishment of the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, emphasising that it is now an accepted part of the North Norfolk community.