RenewableUK Disappointed by Navitus Bay Decision

RenewableUK has expressed disappointment that the Energy Minister Lord Bourne has refused planning approval for Navitus Bay offshore wind farm off the south coast of England.

The 970 megawatt (MW) project was due to be built in the English Channel 13.4 miles off the coast from Bournemouth and 10.9 miles from the western tip of the Isle of Wight. It would have powered 700,000 homes a year.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery, said: “It’s deeply disappointing that Navitus Bay has been refused consent. This is a missed opportunity as it means we’re failing to capitalise on the UK’s superb offshore wind resource and the economic benefits it brings. Years of hard work and significant investment went into developing this project which could have added £1.6 billion to the economy of the region and created up to 1,700 jobs – it’s most unfortunate that that has now been lost.

“The offshore wind industry is still determined to deliver the substantial pipeline of projects in UK waters which includes more than 5 gigawatts of operational capacity and over 13GW with planning permission. We’re making good progress in driving down costs while the prices of imported conventional fuels remain volatile. We’re also bringing real economic benefits with 13,000 jobs and inward investment of over £1billion last year”.

Andy Taylor, vice president for energy at Schneider Electric, also expressed his disappointment by saying: “The investment of time and resource in pre-planning and design work will have been significant, as the rights to develop this Round 3 wind farm were awarded in 2010.

“This curtailment could act as a hammer blow to future infrastructure projects, by sending very mixed messages to investors.”

However, not all responses were negative. Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council Cllr John Beesley said: “Common sense has prevailed and our beautiful natural environment, coastline and dependent tourist industry have been protected for future generations.”

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burn welcomed the decision and said that they will fight any appeal with equal resolve.

Image: renewableuk