Wind farm substation planned for West Moors
By Stour & Avon Magazine | Friday, January 27, 2012, 11:00
PLANS for a large wind farm off the Dorset coast include an 18-mile cable line from the shoreline to a substation on the outskirts of West Moors.
Dutch energy company Eneco has been awarded rights by the Crown Estate to set up the offshore electricity plant between Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight.
The wind farm, known as Navitus Bay Wind Park, is expected to comprise as many as 250 turbines, generating enough electricity to power around 700,000 homes.
Public consultation is under way and an application for a Development Consent Order is expected to be made to the Infrastructure Planning Commission by the end of next year.
Cables carrying electricity from the turbines are expected to meet the shore somewhere between Christchurch and Milford on Sea. An 18-mile underground cable line will then run to a site close to the existing substation at Mannington.
Two nearby sites either site of the B3072 between West Moors and Three Legged Cross are being considered. Eneco is proposing a six-hectare plot to house a 1.2-hectare substation building, which would be no more than 14 metres high.
A spokesman for Eneco said the underground cable line would be laid in a 20-metere wide trench. He said engineering experts were working on a route, which has yet to be confirmed, and an accompanying environmental impact assessment.
"The cables will be buried by opening a trench and laying them in ducts. This will cover an area up to 20 metres wide, which will be returned to its current state, allowing access and farming," he explained.
"In certain cases the cables may be drilled underground. Eneco will seek to minimise any impacts that work on the cable route may have to local residents."
The exact cable route is likely to be revealed this autumn. It would then be several years before works commence.
"As we are in very early stages of development, Eneco is unable to commit to any timescales but, if planning permission is consented for Navitus Bay, work on the cable route is likely to coincide with when construction begins in 2016," the spokesman added.
West Moors parish councillor John Bartley said: "There are concerns about the amount of land the cables would cut through and the traffic movements with the associated works."
Parish clerk Judi Weedon added: "The feeling so far is that we are being kept as well informed as is possible.
"We don't know exactly where the underground cables will go but we hope the impact will be minimal."
To find out more about the proposal, visit www.navitusbay
Eneco is about to begin a series of public consultation events to update people on offshore elements of the wind park. Exhibitions take place in RNLI Lifeboat College, Poole on Wednesday 22nd February from 2pm to 8pm; Christchurch Borough Council Chambers, Christchurch on Thursday 23rd February from 2pm to 8pm; West Moors Memorial Hall, West Moors on Tuesday 28th February from 2pm to 8pm.