Revised Navitus Bay plans unveiled

Planned wind farm moved further offshore, turbine numbers and capacity reduced

Navitus Bay Development has announced significant revisions to the plans for its offshore wind farm in Poole Bay, in the English Channel. The project will be sited further offshore, its capacity and area reduced and the maximum turbine numbers cut by over a third. The net effect will be a significant reduction in the wind farm's visual impact from the shore.

Navitus Bay is a 50-50 joint venture between Eneco Wind UK and EDF Energy. Eneco was awarded the rights to develop the West of Wight zone in January 2010, before forming the joint venture with EDF Energy in April 2012.

The partners plan to build the Navitus Bay Wind Park off the Dorset and Hampshire coast and to the west of the Isle of Wight. But four key changes to the plans have now been announced:

- The project boundary has been moved further away from the shore, such that it is now more than 3km further from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

- The maximum number of turbines has been cut by a third, from 333 to 218. The turbine options have been narrowed and they will be shorter, at up to 200 metres instead of 210

- The project's maximum capacity has been reduced by 8%, from 1.2GW to 1.1GW

- The development area has been reduced by 12%, from 198km2 to 175 km2.

Commenting on the revised plans, Mike Unsworth, Navitus Bay's project director, said they struck "a good balance between responses that we have had from consultees and the technical viability from an environmental, engineering, shipping and commercial perspective".

The announced changes follow discussions with statutory consultees and local communities. Keith Moss, deputy project director at Navitus Bay, said they were a result of a "commitment to genuine consultation".  A fresh round of consultation events will take place in February in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Subject to planning and gaining consent, construction could commence in 2017. First power is envisaged by 2019, with the full capacity coming on stream by 2020 or 2021.