100 jobs hope over wind farm

By Emily Pearce

Published on Friday, October 19, 2012 - 14:10

 

AROUND 100 jobs could be created if developers behind an offshore wind park choose Yarmouth as an operations and maintenance port.

Eneco and EDF Energy, the developers behind the Navitus Bay project, are considering four locations — Poole, Portland, Swanage and Yarmouth — and are in discussion with Yarmouth Harbour Commissioners.

It would mean around 100 full-time jobs for the 25-year life of the project, including technical, engineering, admin and office jobs.

Project director Mike Unsworth said: "What’s important from an operations and maintenance perspective is proximity, so Yarmouth clearly has some advantage there because it’s very close to the site.

"We have met the harbour commissioners to discuss structural requirements and they are very keen to progress those discussions but equally keen to see what the community thinks about it. Yarmouth is quite a sensitive area in terms of what you can build and we wouldn’t be looking to build anything that’s bigger than what’s already there. We could also have warehouse or storage space away from the harbour.

"In terms of jobs, they would be mostly technical and mechanical engineering jobs, which lend themselves to training courses and apprenticeships and enable young people to learn a trade. It would mostly be technicians travelling out to the site to carry out maintenance work on the turbines."

In addition to the 100 potential jobs, Mr Unsworth said the developers expected to spend £20m a year operating and maintaining the wind farm, around 40 per cent of which — £8m a year — would benefit the local economy, including Island suppliers.

The Navitus Bay wind park would produce between 900 and 1,200MW of energy, enough to power between 615,000 and 820,000 homes.

If planning permission is granted, it could comprise 100 tall turbines, measuring 210m, or 333 smaller turbines, measuring 145m.

The project is still being discussed publicly and an environmental impact assessment is being compiled. A decision by the secretary of state for energy is expected in around three years.

Construction would then begin in 2017 or 2018 and the wind park would be fully operational two years later.

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk

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