Update from the developer of the proposed offshore South Coast windfarm scheme, Navitus Bay

Navitus Bay Development

Ltd has today officially entered into ‘memoranda of understanding’ (MOU)

with three South Coast ports – Poole, Yarmouth and Portland.

These formal agreements

commit the developer to undertaking studies with the ports that will explore

how their facilities could be best used in both the construction and operation and maintenance (O&M) phases of the wind farm.

Navitus Bay first shortlisted the three local ports

to host the wind farm’s O&M functions in summer 2013. This latest development

formalises the developer’s commitment to using local facilities.

Today’s announcement sees

Navitus Bay invest £100,000 into feasibility studies. They will assess factors

critical to the construction and maintenance of the wind park, such as space

available, depth of water and storage facilities and how these can be altered

or improved to accommodate Navitus Bay’s requirements.

As part of the agreement,

the ports will also keep suitable areas of the sites available for Navitus Bay

to use from 2017 onwards.

If

granted planning permission, the Navitus Bay windfarm would see up to 194, 200m-tall wind turbines situated in popular sailing waters

off Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

According to figures from Navitus Bay consultants BVG

Associates, peak construction years could support a minimum of 1,700

jobs

while the O&M base is expected to support around 140 jobs annually, for

example skilled technicians to maintain the turbines.

The O&M base is expected to provide an economic value to the region of £590million over the 25 year lifespan of the project. 

Mike Unsworth, Project

Director at Navitus Bay, said: ‘Our ultimate aim is to

enter into a contract with one, or a combination, of these three ports that

says they will accommodate construction and installation activities and host

the O&M base.

‘The wind park will have a

significant impact on the local economy by creating skilled jobs and

opportunities for local businesses to get involved, and Navitus Bay remains

committed to making sure these positive benefits are realised.

‘If any other local

businesses would like to find out about the opportunities the proposed wind

park could provide, I would urge them to contact us via our website.’

What the ports say

Ian McQuade, General Manager of Portland Harbour Authority, said: ‘The signing of the

MOU is an important step along the road to realising one of the biggest

economic opportunities Portland and Dorset is likely to see for many years.

‘Portland Port hopes that this is just the first of a number of agreements that

will culminate in commercial activities taking place at the port in support of

the Navitus Bay wind park.’

Jim Stewart, Chief

Executive, Poole Harbour Commissioners,

said: ‘The Port of Poole is very

pleased to participate in the signing of this MOU with Navitus Bay Development

Ltd, which we hope will be the precursor to a firm contract for this important

project.

‘This MOU forms part of our strategy for greater diversification in

port activities going forward.’

Background

Last month Navitus Bay Development Ltd announced that it was scaling

back the proposed wind farm in order to reduce its visual impact – the second time the scheme’s size had been reduced.

But campaigners against Navitus Bay say the ‘changes to the plan appear to be marginal’ and the impacts on the the Jurassic coast World Heritage Site are ‘still significant’.

Dr Andrew Langley of Challenge Navitus said: ‘The

threats to the environment, tourism, birds and navigation remain almost

unchanged, and the onshore disruption will be the same.’

Picture: (From left to right) Stuart Grant, Senior Project Manager, Navitus Bay, Jim Stewart, Chief Executive, Poole Harbour Commissioners.

Portland Harbour