The £2 billion-plus offshore wind park is set to be just 8.4 miles south-west of The Needles and the Island coastline, it emerged this week (see image below).
The Dutch company behind the farm has revealed which section it proposes to use of the 279 square miles of the area of seabed it has been allocated.
The wind park is off the Dorset and Hampshire coasts and to the west of the Island. It will provide enough renewable power for between 615,000 and 820,000 homes.
Over the past year, energy company Eneco has been appraising the area and has concluded a project of between 900mw and 1200mw capacity could be located in the northern part of the awarded area, a site which covers 76 square miles.
Depending on the size of the turbines used, Eneco says between 150 and 240 will be erected. The decision on the wind park location was reached after Eneco conducted a Zone Appraisal and Planning (ZAP) process in accordance with guidance from landowner the Crown Estate, public consultation and environmental and engineering appraisals.
Next steps include consultation on the onshore infrastructure associated with connecting the wind park with the National Grid and conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment.
It has been predicted there will be a jobs boost from construction and maintenance of the park but how much of that will come to the Island is not yet known.
Eneco said this week the Isle of Wight Council and Island interests had been ‘extremely proactive’ in putting the Island’s case to be involved. Eneco will be holding a series of public information days to give the public an opportunity to hear more about the ZAP process and the location of the wind park. One is at Quay Arts, Newport, on Wednesday, March 23.
Project director Chris Sherrington said: “After comprehensively evaluating key aspects of the project in relation to wider stakeholder interests, we have chosen the most suitable location for the wind park. This is an important milestone in the lifetime of the development of this project and enables us to look to the future and consider wider impacts, such as the positive economic benefits our project could bring to the area.”
Eneco expects to submit an application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission in 2013, to which planning authorities will make representations, begin construction in 2016 and for the park to become fully operational by 2019.
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