After attending the Backing Kent Business meeting in Maidstone yesterday, my daughter and I travelled down to Westgate-on-Sea where I was due at St Augustine’s Business Centre for a ‘meet the buyer’ event organised by London Array.
Worth over two billion pounds, the London Array wind farm, to be situated in the Thames Estuary between Kent and Essex will comprise around 340 wind turbines, producing a thousand megawatts of electricity. The supply chain opportunities are immense – from boat owners to office equipment providers, there’s a huge range of goods and services required.
London Array’s Commercial and Operations Manager Matt Britton began by explaining the whole project to the audience of small and medium businesses. This was followed by a Q&A session with questions from the floor directed to Matt Britton; Thomas Bonnischen, London Array’s Construction Manager; myself and Brian White, Thanet District Council’s Director of Regeneration.
For over an hour, we fielded questions on the precise number of jobs to be created; on how much money would flow into the local economy; on how specialist marine engineering skills could be utilised. One or two awkward questions, of course, but also a genuine sense of excitement as to how this new industry could change the East Kent economy for generations to come.