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Offshore wind farm to provide jobs for Thanet
By Hannah Ratcliffe
BBC Kent

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BBC South East's Simon Jones looks at the job prospects from the wind farm

The world's largest wind farm, set to be built off the east Kent coast, is expected to create hundreds of new jobs.

The London Array wind farm will have approximately 300 turbines, the energy from which could power 750,000 homes.

The £2 billion project looks likely to site its headquarters in Ramsgate.

It is thought 90 people will be employed directly, while up to 200 jobs will be created through extra trade for local businesses.

Thanet College is already planning summertime "taster" courses for anyone interested in working in the wind turbine industry.

turbine contruction diagram
London Array will be the third wind farm off the east Kent coast

Dr Steve Ladyman, Thanet South MP, said "Thanet is a much higher than average unemployment area in the first place, so 2 or 300 jobs in themselves is very significant but if we can build on that I don't see any reason why we can't make it significantly more."

The wind turbines stand on 50 metre steel piles which are 4.5 metres in diameter. Each pile is pushed 25 metres into the seabed.

This is the foundation which supports the turbine's tower and blades, the total height of which is 115 metres above sea level.

The London Array wind farm will be built in the Thames Estuary, about 12 miles off the coast of Margate, alongside the existing Thanet offshore wind farm.

A wind turbine pile
Wind turbine foundations are 4.5 metres wide and 50 metres long

Thanet District Council has been in support of the plans since September 2006. In December that year an opposition group in Ramsgate was founded.

In May 2008, Shell pulled out of the London Array consortium but two months later energy groups DONG and E.On decided to make it a fifty-fifty split.

They have since been joined by Masdar Initiative , Abu Dhabi's leading investor in renewable energy, making it a three-way consortium again.

On 12 May 2009, permission for the project was finally granted with environmental concerns about the wind farm's impact on bird migration addressed.




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