The Duke of York will be in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk on Tuesday 24th July 2012, when he will be visiting Scira Offshore Energy and meeting staff from Gardline, the marine sciences company based in Great Yarmouth. His Royal Highness is interested to learn more about the rapidly developing offshore renewables industry in the UK.
The two companies, Scira and Gardline, are, in varying capacities, involved in the development of the 88 turbine Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, situated between 9 and 17 miles off the North Norfolk coast. Scira Offshore Energy, which was established to operate this offshore wind farm once completed, is jointly owned by two Norwegian companies, Statoil and Statkraft; Gardline, a leading marine sciences contractor that specialises in geophysical, hydrographic, environmental, oceanographic and geotechnical surveys has been involved in survey projects during the construction of the offshore wind farm, which is now nearing completion.
On arrival The Duke of York will be welcomed by Mr Einar Strømsvåg, Scira General Manager and briefed about the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm and other large developments planned for the southern North Sea, before the Royal Party proceeds to the new outer harbour in Wells-next-the-Sea to inspect one of Gardline's latest wind farm vessels made by Alicat Workboats. Gregory Darling, Chairman of Gardline will welcome The Duke onboard, for a presentation about the company and its role in many offshore energy projects.
During his visit, His Royal Highness will be meeting representatives from the wider community, including local landowners, those involved in education and training, the fishing industry, owners of local businesses, members of the recently formed North Norfolk Renewables Group, the Harbour Commissioners, as well as Town and District councillors.
The Duke of York will also attend a lunch for representatives of nine organisations actively involved in the offshore and renewable energy sectors.
Commenting on the royal visit, Einar Strømsvåg says: "The development of offshore wind farms is a very young industry in the UK, and sadly, a large proportion of our £1b spent in the development and construction of Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm has had to be overseas; components and expertise have not been available over here. The visit by The Duke of York, who is showing such a great interest in renewable energy and is keen to further its success, is both a great honour for Scira and a boost for the industry."
Gregory Darling says "The Gardline Group has been involved in windfarm developments from conception through to operation over many years. This involvement has led to new business including windfarm training facilities, a quayside support base and the operation and manufacture of support vessels - all in Great Yarmouth. We will be pleased and honoured to be able to explain to The Duke that this part of the British marine industry is growing and is successful both in the UK and overseas."