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UK offshore wind set for investment boost after Chinese visit

International investment in east England to increase after visit from China’s wind manufacturers

Wind turbines at Scroby Sands, Great Yarmouth in the UK

A visit to the UK from a Chinese delegation is set to boost offshore wind developments in east England. Prospects for substantial international investment in Norfolk and Suffolk are to receive a boost after a crucial visit by the delegation of world-leading wind farm equipment manufacturers from China took place this week.

The multi-million pound investors from the Chinese province of Jiangsu - a focal point for the Chinese offshore wind energy industry - visited the east of England to look at investing in the production of offshore wind farm equipment along the East of England Energy Zone, as well as opportunities for UK businesses to support developments in China.

The two-day tour of local business and tourism hotspots by 29 senior business people and trade officials from the Jiangsu province in China, included visits to Great Yarmouth, Norwich, Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds and Southwold.

Councillor Ann Steward, cabinet member for economic development at Norfolk County Council, said: "The development of our offshore wind energy industry offers significant investment opportunities for interested Chinese investors and also presents huge potential for the creation of joint venture companies with our local businesses.

"We have many highly skilled local businesses who could work collaboratively or form a supply chain for any investment deals and as such Norfolk and Suffolk have a lot to gain if we do manage to secure investment."

The visit is the latest stage in the joint initiative by Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex county councils to work with China to create new export and inward investment opportunities, leading to local job creation.

Councillor Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for economic development, said: “Our strategic partnership with Norfolk and Essex is proving to be invaluable as we work together to promote the many benefits that Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have to offer. We are proving time and again that we are a world-class prospect when it comes to attracting inward investment in offshore wind power, and also exporting the excellent products we produce.

“I cannot emphasise enough how vital this relationship is with businesses in the Jiangsu Province for creating new jobs and supporting our local economy. The fact that two of the seven businesses are returning for a second visit speaks volumes.”

The east of England has over 40 years' experience in offshore energy production and has the second largest concentration of offshore wind farms in the world - making it an attractive prospect for inward investors.

By 2020, offshore wind in the East of England is predicted to be worth GBP 23bn with the potential of creating tens of thousands of new jobs.

Suffolk is already benefiting from investment from China. The Port of Felixstowe is owned by Chinese-owned company Hutchison Whampoa. The company recently invested GBP 300m to expand the quayside at Felixstowe.