Controversial Purbeck wind turbines delayed by another year

A windfarm at a Purbeck quarry, which was the subject of a 20-year planning battle, has hit a series of setbacks and won’t now be operational until 2023.

The original plan was to have the wind turbines working by the end of summer 2022. But the massive sections remain under wraps at the site at Masters Quarry at East Stoke, between Wareham and Wool, with wrangling over design elements and increasing costs fuelling the delay.

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Masters Quarry wind turbines

Under wraps – the turbine sections lie idle at the East Stoke site

“Problems with getting design approval”

Landowner Will Bond said:

“The general shortage of materials, rising prices and labour shortages have meant that we have stalled for now.

“In particular, we have had problems with getting design approval for the switch connection to the grid.”

Wind turbine

Will Bond says the delays are ‘frustrating’

Link to the grid

The power generated from the wind turbines is due to be fed into the national grid via the Wareham sub-station. But negotiating the regulatory requirements for the link up has proved a sticking point.

The ambitious project, also involving 88,000 solar panels, aims to provide enough power for all the homes on the Isle of Purbeck. It is being developed in conjunction with Wimborne-based energy firm Infinergy.

Alaska Turbine Transport
Infinergy

There are concerns about the height, once the sections are joined together

Split opinion

It’s a project that has divided environmental campaigners. On the one hand there is the prospect of large amounts of renewable energy, on the other hand there is concern about the visual impact and the danger to bats and birds.

Once they are assembled the turbines will be more than twice the height of Nelson’s Column and visible for miles around.

Alaska Wind Farm photomontage
Infinergy

Artist’s impression of how the turbines will look

More delays

The initial planning application was turned down by the local council which led to a public inquiry and subsequent appeals.

The second-hand windfarm turbines came from Belgium at a cost of around £5 million. It was hoped to start construction in the spring and be fully operational by the end of this summer.

But while design approval for the switching system has just been obtained there is now a 32-week lead time on getting the parts.

Springfield Rally
Dorset CPRE

Campaigners back in 2009

“Very frustrating”

Will Bond said:

“There is no point putting the turbines up until we have got a firm completion date. It’s all been very frustrating.”

The delay and the fluctuation in the price of materials is expected to add another £100,000 to the project cost.

Turbine sections arrive by road in December 2021

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