Wind farms attracting interest from Far East

James Gray, inward investment director at the East of England Energy Zone

James Gray, inward investment director at the East of England Energy Zone - Credit: Archant

Giant offshore wind farms off the east coast of England are attracting increasing interest from South Korean and Japanese multi-nationals looking to get a slice of the potentially lucrative investment opportunities available.

James Gray, inward investment director of the East of England Energy Zone, said recent months had seen a surge of interest from multi-nationals from both countries.

Firms such as Samsung and Mitsubishi have already declared an interest in the opportunities available in this country, but with schemes coming on stream off the coast of Sheringham and Lowestoft, Mr Gray also confirmed he had been in direct contact with two other conglomerates from both countries after making contact during a trade exhibition in Vienna earlier this year.

'What's been pretty clear is that there's been interest from larger Chinese conglomerates, but in the last year we've seen South Korean and Japanese becoming more interested,' he said. 'It's also no secret that the Japanese are into renewable energy after the meltdown of the Fukushima atomic plant and Tokyo's decision to gradually phase out nuclear power.

'On our own doorstep, we saw the Marubeni Corporation and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) last year acquire ownership of Seajacks in Great Yarmouth.'

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Officials from the Jiangsu Province in China have already made several trips to the region and recently hosted a dinner with 30 executives from firms in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

'We see a number of opportunities for our businesses to trade in China and to take their expertise to China,' Mr Gray said. 'We are not terribly interested in helping them to supply from China. But we've seen some scope in terms of what they may be able to do from our local ports, and also what they can do to work with the local supply chain.'

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