Norway's Crown Prince opens UK wind park

Norway's Crown Prince Haakon on Thursday officially opened the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm built by the owners Statoil and Statkraft off the coast of Norfolk, UK.

The official ceremony took place at historic Holkham Hall in North Norfolk with support from UK secretary of state for energy and climate change Edward Davey, Norwegian petroleum and energy minister Ola Borten Moe, Norwegian trade and industry minister Trond Giske, and the owners' presidents and CEOs Helge Lund (Statoil) and Christian Rynning-Tønnesen (Statkraft).

The Sheringham Shoal consists of 88 turbines, and is owned equally by Statoil and Statkraft through the joint-venture company Scira Offshore Energy Limited. The opening takes place four years after Scira was granted consent by the UK government, and three years after the initial construction works began.

"Statoil has utilised competence from 40 years of offshore oil and gas activities to complete the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm. Together with our partner Statkraft we have benefitted from good cooperation with UK authorities, local communities and suppliers. I am proud to say that as a result of this joint effort, we are now able to deliver our first large-scale commercial project within renewable energy," says Statoil chief executive Helge Lund.

UK secretary of state for energy and climate change Edward Davey says:

"We need to get the economy moving again, and a massive expansion in homegrown, clean, renewable energy capacity is central to this. Sheringham Shoal will play an important part; supplying power to 220,000 homes, and providing jobs in the local community. Today's opening is also an illustration of the strength of the UK's strategic relationship with Norway. Investment in the UK's energy mix needs to come from increasingly new and diverse sources, and this project is an excellent example of that."

The local Scira organisation in North Norfolk has been preparing for the operational takeover for the past three years and now some 60 local people are employed full-time to operate and maintain the wind farm.

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