Plans have been submitted for a smaller South Coast wind farm scheme with fewer turbines
Developers behind the proposed Navitus Bay Wind Park scheme on the South Coast of England have submitted plans for a smaller scheme.
It comes in addition to Navitus Bay Development Limited’s (NBDL) original application for development consent, which is currently being examined by the Planning Inspectorate.
The original 970MW scheme was for up to 194, 200m-tall wind turbines situated off the coasts of Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, generating an estimated 3.0 terrawatt hours (TWh) of electricity a year, enough to power around 700,000 average UK households.
The new 630MW scheme would have a maximum of 105 turbines and aims to counteract the impacts of the scheme on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site.
Mike Unsworth, Navitus Bay project director, said: ‘Navitus Bay is a proposed windfarm off the Dorset and Hampshire coasts, to the west of the Isle of Wight.
‘It has the potential to generate enough low carbon electricity for around 700,000 UK households, will add up to £1.6billion of economic benefit to the local region and will create a minimum of 1,700 jobs during the construction phase.
‘During the initial stages of its examination of the Navitus Bay planning application, the examining panel set up by the Planning Inspectorate asked the Navitus Bay project for further information in response to a number of questions, including if it was likely to submit a proposal with fewer turbines.
‘In response, we have submitted plans for a smaller scheme with fewer wind turbines, with a capacity of 630MW. In this proposal, the nearest turbines to shore would be further away than in the original plan.
Two schemes in the running
Mr Unsworth added: ‘This option does not replace the original proposal to which we remain fully committed, however it provides the examining panel and the Secretary of State with a second option which reduces certain impacts of the scheme.’
‘We believe that the original larger 970MW scheme, as well as the reduced option, would both make an important contribution to the UK’s energy mix and its renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.
‘Similarly the potential benefits both options would bring to the local economy in terms of jobs and skills would be significant.
‘The Secretary of State will consider which option strikes the right balance between benefits and impacts.
‘However, Navitus Bay continues to have confidence in its original planning application, and believes it strikes the right balance and proposes sufficient measures to address any potential impacts.’
Challenge Navitus statement
In a statement the Challenge Navitus opposition group said: ‘Navitus Bay has not reduced the size of its proposed wind farm – it has just added an option for a smaller array as possible ‘mitigation’ for its current plan.
‘No doubt this has been motivated by the overwhelming opposition to its current proposal and fears that it would not be approved by the government. We have very few details on Plan B at the moment, but from what little we know, it should be a new application and not “tacked onto” the existing examination as an option.
‘Navitus Bay should withdraw its current application before embarking on this new project.
‘Even Plan B would be a very large wind farm close a highly sensitive coast. Challenge Navitus will comment more fully when details are made available.
‘Concerns over the damage to marine habitats, and other environmental impacts may not be satisfied by the changes, and the onshore disruption from the cables would presumably remain the same.’