The French energy giant behind the £3bn Navitus windfarm scheme is becoming increasingly concerned at the damage to its reputation by opposition to the proposal, it is believed.
The chief executive officer of the French-owned EDF Energy, Vincent De Rivaz, and other senior figures in the company met with Bournemouth West MP, Conor Burns, at their request in the House of Commons.
And Mr Burns says the company has been taken aback by the level and strength of opposition to the plan for up to 194 turbines off the coast of Dorset.
He believes the firm may be coming round to the idea that the potential reputational damage may begin to outweigh the commercial benefits of the scheme.
Mr Burns, who has been at the forefront of the opposition, told the Daily Echo: “They clearly didn’t ask for the meeting to tell me how well they think it’s going.
“Something must be going sufficiently wrong for the chief executive to be getting involved in the project to the extent of requesting a meeting with an MP.
“My sense is they have been taken aback at the strength of feeling.”
Mr Burns said engagement with local communities had been “disastrous”.
He added: “It’s my view that the real money for firms like EDF is in nuclear energy, not in offshore wind farms where there are huge uncertainties about the long-term future of government subsidies for such projects.”
At the meeting, Mr Burns said he did “more talking than listening”.
He told Mr de Rivaz: “We are going to fight this every step of the way.”
The scheme is a 50/50 partnership between EDF Energy and the Dutch-owned energy company Eneco.
A spokesman for Navitus said: “Both EDF and Eneco have met local representatives and discussed the opportunities provided by the project as well as covering any potential concerns. Both shareholders are fully committed to the successful ongoing development of the project.”
EDF Energy and Eneco, have now submitted plans for a smaller wind farm that would involve a maximum of 105 turbines and be further from the shore.
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