Major boost for North Devon offshore wind farm proposals

PLANS for a 1,500megawatt offshore wind farm off the North Devon coast have been given a boost following the publication of a Government report in favour of offshore wind energy. The Atlantic Array is one of a number of proposals that could move forward f

PLANS for a 1,500megawatt offshore wind farm off the North Devon coast have been given a boost following the publication of a Government report in favour of offshore wind energy.

The Atlantic Array is one of a number of proposals that could move forward following the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) policy statement released yesterday (Wednesday).

The report, entitled "A Prevailing Wind: Advancing UK Offshore Wind Deployment" states that the Government plans to go ahead with a 25gigawatt expansion in offshore wind energy following a strategic environmental assessment.

South West sustainable energy agency, Regen SW, has welcomed the announcement.


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Merlin Hyman, Regen SW chief executive, said: "Offshore wind is clean, renewable energy that has the potential to provide around 34 per cent of the region's electricity needs by 2020 so the announcement is excellent news.

"With the right approach - which is sympathetic to the marine environment, looks after the natural habitat of marine life, and takes on board all considerations of the environmental impact assessments - these projects have huge potential. We'll see increased jobs and a boost for the economy. Manpower and expertise will be required in the construction industries; office and administration personnel will be necessary; foundations will need to be built on the seabed; marine-based inspections will need to take place; and there will be a continual need for operations and maintenance teams to keep the wind farms in top working order. It is an enormous opportunity."

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The Government recommendations, announced by Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Lord Philip Hunt, could also pave the way for a 1,000MW site off the south coast in Poole Bay.

The report has lifted a blanket requirement on how far out to sea the turbines must be, a decision that is important to the South West, where deep waters mean that offshore wind turbines will need to be placed closer to the coast.

Mr Hyman added: "The fact that the Government has responded by dropping the proposal for offshore wind turbines to be at least 12 nautical miles from the coast is vital for the south west."

"Regen SW has pressed hard for the decision on whether to develop offshore wind to be based on the unique character of the area rather than a blanket approach," he added.

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