Portland Port Shortlisted for Big Navitus Bay Contract
8:36am 1st April 2014
Portland Port is in the running for a major contract with the controversial Navitus Wind Farm project.
Developers are carrying out a study to find a base where they can carry out operations and maintenance on the turbines, if plans for the offshore farm gets the go ahead.
A planning application for the Navitus Bay development is due to be submitted next week.
If approved nearly 200 wind turbines would be put in the sea off Weymouth and Swanage with experts saying they would generate enough electricity to power 710,000 homes.
Two other ports, Poole and Yarmouth, are in the running for the operation and maintenance (O&M) contract, which is officially called a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU).
If Portland gains the contract and is named the base for O&M it could support 140 jobs.
Mike Unsworth, Project Director at Navitus Bay, said Portland was shortlisted for the contract last year;
"Our ultimate aim is to enter into a contract with one, or a combination, of these three ports that says they will accommodate construction and installation activities and host the O&M base.
"The wind park will have a significant impact on the local economy by creating skilled jobs and opportunities for local businesses to get involved, and Navitus Bay remains committed to making sure these positive benefits are realised.
Ian McQuade, General Manager of Portland Harbour Authority, said gaining the contract would be great for the local economy;
"The signing of the MOU is an important step along the road to realising one of the biggest economic opportunities Portland and Dorset is likely to see for many years. Portland Port hopes that this is just the first of a number of agreements that will culminate in commercial activities taking place at the port in support of the Navitus Bay wind park."
Campaigners, including South Dorset MP Richard Drax, are heavily opposed to the Navitus Bay project.