THE firm behind proposals for a large wind farm off the Bournemouth coast has commissioned a further site investigation of the sea bed.

Navitus Bay Development Ltd (NBDL), a joint venture between Eneco Wind UK and EDF Energy Renewables, wants to erect as many as 194 wind turbines 13 miles off Bournemouth and Poole.

This latest investigation, which involves drilling bore holes and extracting cores of the sea bed material, will help engineers select the most suitable foundations, should the project get the official go-ahead in 2015.

NBDL’s proposals – for wind turbines that could stand up to 200 metres tall – have split local opinion, with many on both sides of the wind farm debate protesting against and supporting the green energy scheme.

Navitus Bay, which started initial site investigations earlier this month, has contracted Horizon Geosciences Ltd, the Bristol-based geotechnical survey specialists.

They’ll be using their state-of-the-art vessel Horizon GeoBay, which is fitted with specialised water jets that hold it stationary in the water, allowing for accurate drilling of the sea bed over a range of tidal swells.

NBDL project director Mike Unsworth said: “In parallel with seeking consent for the project, it is vital that we continue to gather additional information about the site conditions to help inform our detailed design of the proposed offshore wind park.

“This new survey will complement the existing wealth of information and data.

“This latest investigation is the next step in the process of engineering an optimum design for the wind turbine foundations.

“We are pleased to be working with Horizon and have every confidence that the team will provide us with all the data we need.”