The mast, which gained consent from marine regulator the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), will allow the developers of the proposed wind farm to collect data to inform the design of the project and provide estimates of the energy it could produce.
The approval for the mast comes after EDF and Dutch energy firm Eneco agreed to form a 50-50 joint venture to build the project, part of the UK’s third and biggest round of offshore wind development. Located on a 76 square mile site to the west of the Isle of Wight on England’s south coast, Navitus Bay could deliver up to 1.2 GW of offshore wind capacity, the partners have said.
The meteorological mast will be a temporary lattice structure, approximately 100 metres in height and located eight miles from the Swanage and Bournemouth coastline. Construction of the mast is set to begin late 2012, and will take approximately one month to complete. The structure will be removed once all the relevant data has been gathered.
Chris Sherrington, project director for the developers, Navitus Bay Development, said: “The approval of the meteorological mast application is an important milestone for the project and will help us gather more important data to support the planning application.”
The developers, who are currently carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment, plan to submit a planning application for the scheme at the end of 2013.