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Saturday 19 August 2017
19 August 2017 - NEWS UPDATE
Renewable Energy

Major wind farm planned for South West coast

Final consultations are being held ahead of a planning application to build an offshore wind farm off the South West coast nearly twice the size of the London Array.

Navitus

Location of Navitus Bay Wind Park

The Navitus Bay Wind Park off the Dorset and Hampshire coast could generate 3.3 terra-watt hours (TWh) of electricity a year - the equivalent of powering 790,000 average homes - when it comes on stream in 2020.

The operators say the Navitus Bay Wind Park could offset approximately 1,150,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

The 1100MW project is a 50-50 venture between Eneco and EDF Energy and could create more than 1,000 jobs. It is in the final round of consultations ahead of submission of Development Consent Order early next year.

When operational it will occupy a 175 square kilometre site (67 square miles) in waters up to 53m deep 13.9km west of The Needles off the Isle of Wight.

With around 200 turbines, some up to 200m high, the Park will be visible on the horizon from tourists resorts such as the Isle of Wight, Bournemouth, Swanage and Weymouth.

But operators say environmental reports predict little disruption to the local tourist industry and because of its size, the site could become a tourist attraction itself.

The public will have a chance to talk to the Navitus Bay project team and submit their views on the proposed wind park, at the final planned round of public exhibitions prior to the submission of its consent application in early 2014.

The exhibitions will take place in September across eight different locations in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and are part of Navitus Bay's Phase Four public consultation, which starts on 2 September and ends on 11 October.

Navitus Bay will be presenting the latest and most up-to-date findings of the surveys and assessments it has undertaken on the potential impacts of the project during the construction and operational phases.

People attending the exhibitions will be able to speak to the project team about the findings and impact assessments, pick up consultation materials and take a look at an interactive 3D computer model of the wind park.

From 2 September members of the public will also be able to pick up the consultation materials from their local library, or download the information and complete an online comments form available at the Navitus Bay website.

Mike Unsworth, Project Director of Navitus Bay, said: "Although there is a great deal of support for Navitus Bay in the local area, we appreciate that there are also some concerns. We are committed to an ongoing, open and honest dialogue with local communities and while this is the final planned round of public exhibitions prior to our consent application, there will be ongoing opportunities for the public to feedback their views on our proposals.

"We also act on the feedback we receive. Since 2010 we have been carrying out a comprehensive consultation with the community and statutory organisations and as a result of engaging and consulting we have made significant changes to our plans. For example, we scaled back the project and moved the northern boundary further away from the shore resulting in fewer turbines and we are developing a smaller area of the sea bed.

"Almost 2,000 people attended our last round of consultation events and we are hoping that many more will come to the September exhibitions to let us know what they think about our findings and assessments. All the responses we receive will be analysed independently and will help inform the preparation of the Environmental Statement which forms part of the official planning application so this is a real opportunity for people to have a say on the project and play an active part in the application."

The project team says Navitus Bay represents a multi-million pound investment which will bring significant benefits to the local economy and local ports. Based on other UK offshore wind projects, a conservative estimate of the value of contracts to businesses in the local economy is in excess of £100m. It is estimated that the project will create up to 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and 100 permanent posts.

If planning permission is granted, the major component supply and construction contracts are anticipated to be awarded during 2017 following the Financial Investment Decision (FID). The FID, scheduled for Q1 2017, will be taken by the shareholders of Navitus Bay Development Ltd and will be the green light for release of the funds to construct the project.

The issuing of Invitations to Tender for the main packages of work such as turbines, foundations, cables and installation activities will go to market during an 18 month period ahead of FID.

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