Sheringham Shoal Visitor Centre now open
A fascinating insight into the world of renewable energy can be found in north Norfolk.
The Sheringham Shoal Visitor Centre is open for business on the seafront while the construction of the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm continues off the North Norfolk Coast.
Housed on the first floor of the Sheringham Museum, the centre aims to educate visitors about wind energy and how it helps to reduce carbon emission and reliance on fossil fuels.
Interactive displays and graphics explore the historic importance of wind to the north Norfolk area, as well as providing further insight into the wind farm being built close-by.
Information about the development, construction and operation of an offshore wind farm provides a glimpse of the future for north Norfolk when the Sheringham farm opens in 2012.
Once complete, the farm is set to generate enough electricity each year to power the equivalent of 220,000 domestic homes, demonstrating the power of renewable energy and the benefits of offshore wind farms for the environment.
Kari Hege Mork, stakeholder manager for the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, said: "We have worked hard to achieve a balance in the design and content of the visitor centre so that it will not only be fun and interactive, but also educational, including being of assistance to schools where climate change and renewable energy feature in the curriculum."
"The centre will also be a place where the people can learn more about this historic project, which their community is a central part of."
Open until October 31st, the centre will be available Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 til 16:30 GMT, and Sundays from 12:00 til 16:00 GMT. The visitor centre offers free entry, however the Sheringham Museum does charge for its exhibitions.
The Sheringham Shoal wind farm project began in 2004, and is due to begin generating power in 2012. Almost 90 turbines will be positioned less than a kilometre apart, supported with foundations fixed to the seabed.
Weather conditions will impact upon the visibility of the turbines from the shore – the structures will be visible approximately 60 per cent of the time, according to the project.
The farm's location in the Greater Wash, north of Sheringham, has been specifically chosen due to its comparatively shallow waters (17-22 metres); high, consistent wind speeds and going access for building and maintaining the wind farm.
According to the project, the UK has the largest offshore wind energy resource in the world, and makes up more than a third of all wind energy resources available to Europe. Offshore wind alone could meet the government's renewable energy target - producing 20 per cent of all energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.
The Sheringham Museum can be found in the Mo, on Sheringham's seafront. A viewing tower offers views across the North Sea. Celebrating its seaside history, the museum houses a collection of unique lifeboats alongside historic fishing boats.
Exploring Sheringham's rich history, a visit to the museum could be incorporated with a trip to explore the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm.