PORTLAND could be in line for a major economic boost after being shortlisted as the headquarters for the Navitus Bay wind farm.

Navitus Bay Development Limited has announced that Portland will do battle with Poole and Yarmouth to host its operations and maintenance for the next 25 years.

The headquarters is expected to support around 160 jobs annually and give a boost of around £670 million to the local economy over the 25 years. Navitus Bay Wind Park development proposes to install up to 218 offshore wind turbines off in a stretch of sea from Purbeck to the Isle of Wight.

Ian McQuade, Portland Port general manager, said: “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 operations and maintenance requirements and their construction needs.

“This is also very good news not just for Weymouth and Portland but for the whole of Dorset and potentially represents a massive boost to the local economy not just at present but for many years to come.

“We look forward to working closely with Navitus Bay over the next few months to agree the necessary memoranda of understanding.”

Navitus Bay Development Limited also aims to maximise opportunities for construction contracts, for example turbine assembly and building the wind park foundations, at the three ports and to help them with their development plans. Mike Unsworth, Navitus Bay project director, said he was pleased to commit to use a local port and said the project will continue to work closely with them for future opportunities.

He said: “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.”