North Devon offshore windfarm decision imminent

A MAJOR announcement that could kick-start the building of the world s largest offshore wind farm off the North Devon coast is expected this week. The Crown Estate – the Government agency that owns the seabed around Britain – is understood to be announcin

A MAJOR announcement that could kick-start the building of the world's largest offshore wind farm off the North Devon coast is expected this week.

The Crown Estate - the Government agency that owns the seabed around Britain - is understood to be announcing its preferred bidder for the �3.8billion Atlantic Array project on Friday.

The successful bidder would be given permission to build 350 turbines in an area of the Bristol Channel 15km to the north of Lundy Island.

Although the project is still in the early stages of development, the proposals could have a significant long-term benefit to the North Devon economy.


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While the 1,500megawatt wind farm would supply electricity to one million households and save up to three million tonnes of CO2 a year, it could also create up to 900 jobs at peak employment during its five-year construction

Devon County Council, North Devon Council and the South West of England Rural Development Agency (SWRDA) have been working together to attempt to harness the potential benefits for North Devon, which is competing with a number of other sites in the South West and South Wales to provide a construction base for the wind farm.

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In December 2008, the local authorities and SWRDA identified a brownfield site at Yelland, near Barnstaple, as North Devon's most practical site for a construction, operations and maintenance port.

When asked about the potential benefits for North Devon, Fremingon Rural Devon County Councillor Rodney Cann said: "Let's keep our fingers crossed - the Atlantic Array could provide a major boost for North Devon and the local economy.

"Yelland would provide the ideal location as a construction base due to its proximity to both the Taw and Torridge Estuaries, good road access and closeness to a suitable sub station at Alverdiscott.

"And in terms of providing large-scale accommodation for workers, the now disused Fremington Army Camp must be a very attractive proposition."

The Atlantic Array site is one of nine zones around the UK awaiting to hear about preferred bidders in the Crown Estate's "Round Three" offshore wind farm bidding programme.

Construction in each zone would begin in 2014, with completion and operation by 2020.

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