New wind farm visitor centre opens in Sheringham

A new visitor centre for the Sheringham Shoal offshore windfarm has opened to the public.

The Sheringham Shoal Visitor Centre which is associated with the Sheringham Shoal Windfarm Project, is located on the first floor of the Mo Museum in Sheringham.

It includes graphic and interactive displays, showing the processes involved in the development, construction and operation of an offshore windfarm.

Helping to guide people around the displays is 'Barb' the windfarm visitor centre mascot, and as well as learning about the history of renewable energy and windfarms, people are also given the chance to get 'hands-on', seeing how much energy they can produce with an energy tester.

There are also videos documenting how windfarm developments have taken place elsewhere, and how the Sheringham windfarm project work is progressing.

The Mo Museum itself has a stunning 360 degree viewing tower which offers views of the Sheringham Shoal windfarm, where the first wind turbines should start appearing this summer.

Einar Stromsvag, general manager of the Sheringham Shoal Windfarm Project, said they had received a lot of interest from local schools coming to visit the centre, and the hope was that the centre, as well as informing visitors and local people about the project, would act as an educational tool for young people.

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He said: 'One of the most exciting things about this centre is that people are going to be able to learn about the history of the windfarm energy and also then watch as the Sheringham one develops.'

The Sheringham Shoal offshore windfarm, owned by Scira Offshore Energy, is located between 17 and 23km off the coast of north Norfolk and will comprise 88 wind turbines, generating enough clean energy to power almost 220,000 British homes.

The project is currently under construction phase.

Mr Stromsvag said all work was done onshore, and they had constructed the foundations for the two offshore sub-stations which will be part of the windfarm.

He said: 'The first turbines will go up this summer and the first electricity should be transported to the National Grid this summer, although it will be closer to next summer, 2012, that the entire windfarm will be completed.'

Admission to the visitor centre is free, although admission charges to The Mo Museum itself apply, and opening times are Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4.30pm and Sunday, noon to 4pm.