Navitus Bay mulls turbine options

The developer of the £3.5bn ($5.6bn) Navitus Bay wind farm says any future changes to the project plan may involve its turbines – but not its location in the waters off southern England.

The Navitus Bay project company is engaged in a fourth and final round of consultation before it submits a consent application to the UK Planning Inspectorate in early 2014.

The developer has not ruled out a further reduction in the number of turbines used on the project.

The maximum was reduced from 333 to 218 last December, following earlier public consultation rounds.

At that stage the project’s boundaries were also shifted about 3km further from the Dorset towns of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

A Navitus Bay spokeswoman tells Recharge that any further changes “will all be done within the boundary of the current site. We will not be moving the wind farm any further away from the coast”.

Navitus Bay – a 50/50 joint venture between French utility EDF and Dutch group Eneco – is consulting on a range of turbine options to deploy 1.1GW of capacity at the 175 sq km site.

These range from 218, based on a 5MW machine, to 136 based on an 8MW model.

The developer is also considering a combination of turbine sizes, says the spokeswoman.

“The overall aim is to minimise the visual impact of the wind farm,” she adds.

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

Navitus Bay expects the construction phase of the wind farm to start in 2017 and for it to be fully operational in 2020/2021.