THE onshore headquarters of the Rampion windfarm was officially opened yesterday.

Maria Caulfield MP unveiled a plaque at the new operations and maintenance base – a massive building at Newhaven’s East Quay.

Sixty staff will work from the premises, mainly the crews who service and maintain the farm’s 116 offshore turbines.

Ms Caulfield said it was outstanding news for the town that such an exciting operation was now based in Newhaven, pointing out the facility will generate enough electricity to power half the homes in Sussex.

Richard Crowhurst, plant manager for the wind farm, said: “We’re proud to have been able to support the regeneration of Newhaven Port and look forward to becoming an integrated part of the local community.

“The base is conveniently sited quayside for easy access to crew transfer vessels, which take turbine maintenance teams to the wind farm every day.

“The teams will service every turbine once a year to ensure they have the highest levels of availability to generate clean green electricity through their lifetime.”

The first of the wind farm’s electricity entered the national grid last November, and last month the last of its 116 turbines began delivering power.

The will be finalised later this year and will provide enough electricity to power 350,000 homes.

Crew from the facility will spend their time servicing the turbines, each of which might take three days to inspect and service thoroughly.

They try to carry out most of the work in the summer months, when seas are calmer, because their boats attach to the foot of the pylons so in high seas the swell makes the task impossible.

In the control room Richard Crowhurst explained the turbines can be closely monitored from onshore.

The blades move whenever the wind is blowing, but have thresholds below and above which they are not connected to the gears.

They are turned to face the wind by hydraulic motors.