Atlantic Array shaved down to 240 turbines
THE developers behind the proposed Atlantic Array offshore wind farm have announced they are reducing the total number of turbines for a second time.
The Atlantic Array will now have a maximum number of 240 turbines instead of the previous figure of 278.
The wind farm would now be more than 18.5km from Woolacombe, not 16.5km.
RWE nPower Renewables announced the reduction yesterday in a bid to reduce the visual effects from the turbines and potential underwater disturbance from piling noise during the wind farm's construction.
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The company says the further reduction would result in a number of benefits to a range of other areas, including commercial fisheries, birds navigation and the ecology of the seabed.
Craig Harwood, project manager for Atlantic Array, said: "The revisions to the proposed Atlantic Array wind farm are being made after the completion of additional studies and focus on the site boundary closest to Lundy and North Devon.
"They build on the changes we made in 2012 to minimise environmental effects.
"Combined, these refinements deliver the most appropriate offshore wind farm scheme for the area from both a technical and environmental perspective.
"Atlantic Array remains a significant infrastructure project capable of making a large contribution to the UK's energy needs."
RWE reduced the number of turbines from the initial proposal last year from 417 to 278.
The turbine reduction means the wind farm's maximum capacity would reduce from 1,500 megawatts to 1,200 megawatts and would power approximately 900,000 average UK households.
RWE also confirmed 11.5 per cent of contracts for Atlantic Array project, worth £2 million, have been placed in Devon, with a further 10.9 per cent being placed with companies located in the South West.
But despite the employment and the further reduction, campaign group Slay the Array is still heavily opposed to the proposals.
The campaign group spokesman Steve Crowther, said: "The Atlantic Array is proposed to be sited in a place that has been specifically described as inappropriate under the government's own Strategic Environmental Assessments.
"The Government states that any proposal for development within 12 nautical miles (22km) of a coast must take account of the sensitivity of the seascape, citing in particular heritage coasts, wildness, national parks and AONBs – features which cover virtually the whole coast in question.
"The developers seem to think that by 'lifting their petticoats' and shaving a bit off the proposed development area nearest to the North Devon coast they will be making a difference. But these 240 turbines, at 720ft tall, will still be less than 12nm off our coast, and twice the height of Lundy."
RWE now hope to submit the planning application for the array to the planning inspectorate in June.