· Wind park developer announces all-local shortlist for operations base

· Developer pursues signing of ‘memoranda of understanding’ for construction as well as operations activities

· Local businesses urged to seize opportunities presented by the project

Navitus Bay Development Limited (NBDL) has today announced a shortlist of three local ports – Poole, Portland and Yarmouth – to host the wind park’s operations and maintenance (O&M) functions.

The O&M base will effectively be the wind park’s headquarters over its 25-year lifespan, and is expected to provide an economic value to the region of £670 million over this time.  The base is also expected to support around 160 jobs annually, for example skilled technicians to maintain the turbines[i].

According to latest independent projections, the wind park has the potential to add economic value to the region of up to £1.85 billion over the lifetime of the project, and support up to 2,000 jobs during peak construction years[i].

NBDL has today also announced its intention to pursue ‘memoranda of understanding’ with the same three local ports.  The aim of these agreements is to formalise Navitus Bay’s commitment to not only use local ports for operations and maintenance but to maximise opportunities for construction activities where technically feasible, for example turbine assembly and building the wind park foundations, and to assist these ports with their development plans.   

As part of this, Navitus Bay will conduct additional surveys and scoping work to ensure that local ports are able to capitalise on the significant opportunities that the development presents. 

Mike Unsworth, Project Director of Navitus Bay, said he was pleased to be able to commit to use a local port for O&M, adding that Navitus Bay would continue to work closely with the three ports to identify further local opportunities. 

“I am delighted that following constructive discussions with Poole, Portland and Yarmouth, we are able to commit to using a local port for operations and maintenance.  These port authorities have worked closely with us to get to this point, and I would encourage local businesses to do likewise. 

“We will now seek to identify further opportunities for these ports to host construction and installation activities.  The memoranda of understanding demonstrate our commitment to working with local partners wherever possible, and to realising the full potential of the wind park to the region.

“We are actively encouraging as many local businesses as possible to contact us via our website to see how they can capitalise on these new opportunities.” 

The types of contract likely to be awarded during the construction of the wind park include steel fabrication, concrete supply, onshore civil engineering, labour supply, plant hire and marine support services. During the operations and maintenance phase, opportunities will exist for skilled technicians and vessel operators.  

As the workforce expands, the knock-on effect on the hospitality industry is likely to be felt, with hoteliers and restaurants enjoying a boost to their business. The project is also committed to supporting local skills development through a range of potential educational programmes and apprenticeship schemes.  

Comment from Jim Stewart, Chief Executive, Poole Harbour Commissioners

“The Port of Poole is well placed to provide Navitus Bay Development Limited with first class port facilities and excellent service levels which we believe are crucial for the success of this project. The Port of Poole looks forward to working closely with the developers to finalise the full details of the operations base, with the ultimate aim of bringing jobs and economic benefits to Poole”.

Comment from Ian McQuade, General Manager, Portland Port

"This is a very exciting and welcome development. We have been in close discussion with Eneco, and more recently Navitus Bay, for a number of years and believe that Portland offers the ideal solution for both their O&M requirements and their construction needs. This is also very good news not just for Weymouth and Portland but also for the whole of Dorset and potentially represents a massive boost to the local economy not just now but for many years to come. We look forward to working closely with Navitus Bay over the next few months to agree the necessary MOU."

Comment from Chris Lisher, Chief Executive/ Harbour Master, Yarmouth Harbour Commissioners

“Yarmouth Harbour Commissioners are delighted that the Harbour is being considered by Navitus Bay for its Operations and Maintenance base. We see this not only as a great opportunity for the Harbour but also for the whole of the Isle of Wight. Navitus Bay could bring significant employment opportunities and business of all types to the Island. We look forward to working with Navitus Bay for the benefit of both parties and the residents on the Island.”

Comment from Cllr Xena Dion (Penn Hill Ward), Portfolio Holder Environment and Consumer Protection, Local Economy and Transportation, Poole Borough Council

"We are delighted that Poole has been included in the shortlist of local ports that Navitus are considering to host the wind park's operations and maintenance functions.  We know that the decision for approval of the wind park is not for the Borough of Poole to make but we certainly should be working with Navitus to ensure that if and when it does go ahead local people will stand to benefit in terms of employment and business opportunities.” 

Comment from Cllr Luisa Hillard (Ward of East Cowes), Cabinet Member for Sustainability, Isle of Wight County Council

“It is always a pleasure to welcome new employers to the Isle of Wight who are attracted by our beautiful location and great climate.  As we frequently say in my home: 'Sunny and windy - it's a good day for sailing'. It's good for generating electricity too! I hope that Navitus Bay will appreciate all that Yarmouth and the wider Island have to offer their company in return for quality jobs and opportunities for our workforce, who are developing expertise in green industry.  The Isle of Wight Council is committed to making our Island more self-sufficient in energy and the Navitus Bay off-shore wind park is an important piece of this puzzle, providing renewable energy to homes and businesses.”

 [i] The statistics were compiled by consultants BVG Associates, for Navitus Bay’s Environmental Statement, which will form part of its planning application.