North Devon to Benefit from Atlantic Array Development (UK)

North Devon to Benefit from Atlantic Array Development (UK)

THE man behind the Atlantic Array development has hinted North Devon would be the most likely place to benefit from jobs created by the offshore wind farm – not South Wales.

Peter Crone, director of Farm Energy, spoke at a North Devon Green Party event at the Castle Centre, in Barnstaple on Tuesday night, to an audience mostly made up of renewable energy supporters.

He gave a 40-minute lecture on the benefits of wind energy and then took questions from the floor, many of which centred on the Atlantic Array.

One man asked why it had not been reported in the media about the new jobs the development could create.

The Journal has previously tried to pin the developers down on exactly where jobs could be created, and what ports could service the building of the site – but no firm answers have been forthcoming.

But at the meeting Mr Crone finally made comments which seemed to point favourably towards North Devon.

He said: “I’m not making any commitments but if you look at the long term, the operations base over 50 years would employ about 200 people, and at a conservative estimate the North Devon economy could benefit something not less than £50 million if the people were to be based here.

“If you look at the Welsh side, Swansea bay is 55-60km from the site, Milford Haven is 80km away, the Taw and Torridge Estuary is 40km away and Ilfracombe is 29km away. We are talking about thousands of vessels travelling out there every year.

 “If you think about it the distance travelled would take a third of the time from this side than it would from Wales, and for the majority of it from a sheltered coast.”

Another revelation from the questions from the floor was an admission from Mr Crone that ships could be at risk of running into the turbines.

A woman said she had been told by a fisherman the offshore turbines are an accident waiting to happen.

 Mr Crone said: “It’s very unlikely any large vessel would go into that area, but for small leisure craft and fishermen I agree it is an accident waiting to happen.

 “It’s not under normal circumstances it would be a problem, but it’s not under normal circumstances they have problems.

 “In a place like the Bristol Channel if you end up in difficulties you could find yourself anywhere.

 “It is a risk and it’s something we have to take into consideration, in the same way birds, whales and fish have to be considered.

 “We have to do a collision assessment based on a statistical basis – we have to ask what are the chances of a vessel going into a wind farm? But I have to say even if you are driving a supertanker with your eyes closed you’d be pretty unlucky to hit one, they are 1,500m apart and they are only 6-7m wide.


Source: barnstaplepeople, November 10, 2011; Image: rwepower