UK's Navitus Bay offshore project cuts 115 wind turbines

The developer of the Navitus Bay offshore wind farm off southern England has unveiled a revised plan that slashes the number of turbines and shifts the project further out to sea.

Navitus Bay will now employ a maximum of 218 turbines compared to the 333 originally foreseen, and will move its near-shore boundary 3km further from the Dorset towns of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

The project’s maximum capacity will fall to 1.1GW from 1.2GW.

A statement from the developer says: “Navitus Bay has narrowed the size of turbine options being considered, meaning that fewer would be built.

“This also means that the largest turbines will now be smaller than previously proposed, with a maximum height of 200 metres rather than 210.”

Developer Navitus Bay – a 50/50 joint venture between French utility EDF and Dutch group Eneco – says the revisions are “a direct result of discussions with statutory consultees and local communities”.

The project had aroused concerns over the impact on the views from the Dorset Jurassic Coast coast, one of just two Unesco World Heritage sites in the UK.

It would now occupy 175 sq km of sea adjacent to Dorset and the Isle of Wight, a 12% reduction on the original plan.

Mike Unsworth, project director for Navitus Bay says: “We have moved the site significantly further from the coast, reducing the potential visual and navigational impact of the wind park.

“In addition, we have reduced the maximum number of turbines in the proposal and reduced the height of the tallest turbine,” Unsworth adds.

“We feel that these significant adjustments to the plans strike a good balance between responses that we have had from consultees and the technical viability from an environmental, engineering, shipping and commercial perspective.”

Huub den Rooijen, head of offshore wind at The Crown Estate, which manages the UK’s waters, says: “Feedback gained to date has clearly fed into their plans for the project, demonstrating their sensitivity to the local area.”

The UK Round 3 project was originally known as the Isle of Wight zone.

Navitus Bay will in February begin a series of public consultations and exhibitions in southern England to explain the revised plans.