The Isle of Man announced Monday that it had signed an Agreement for Lease with Danish wind energy giant DONG Energy that could see the island become an offshore wind leader.
The self-governing British Crown dependency, located in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, made the announcement on its website on Monday, revealing that the country’s Department of Infrastructure had signed an Agreement for Lease with DONG Energy “to explore the possibility of developing a wind farm in Manx waters off the north east coast of the Island.”
DONG Energy is the leading offshore wind energy developer, and one of the leading owners of offshore wind farms in Europe. The company saw earnings increase 14% in its third quarter earnings report, and helped push the UK past the 10 GW of offshore wind capacity in agreeing to build the 660 MW Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm: upon completion, the Walney Extension (also located in the Irish Sea) will surpass the London Array Offshore Wind Farm as the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
The Isle of Man is moving quickly towards developing renewable energy projects in and around the island. “The creation of an offshore energy hub is one of the core strategies of the Government’s long-term plans for economic growth,” the Department of Infrastructure said on Monday in a press release. “Leasing parts of the Isle of Man’s seabed for renewable energy generation is expected to make a significant contribution to public funds and local job creation, as well as lowering carbon emissions.”
The Agreement for Lease will allow DONG Energy to carry out preliminary surveys to determine the viability of developing offshore wind projects within the 12-mile limit of the Island’s territorial sea, and follows in the wake of the Isle of Man’s granting of a survey license to assess the potential in developing a tidal array off the Point of Ayre. Any wind farm development will still be subject to subsequent approval, and would still need to submit a full environmental impact assessment, but the move is a strong one for the small island nation.
“The opportunities for renewable energy in Manx territorial waters are significant,” said Phil Gawne, Infrastructure Minister. “The ambition of the industry is matched by a commitment from the Isle of Man Government to maximise the vast potential of the Irish Sea’s clean energy resources. DONG Energy is a world-renowned company with a strong track record of achievement in the development of offshore wind farms. We look forward to working with them to progress this exciting initiative.”
“We are pleased to sign this Agreement for Lease with the Isle of Man Government, which allows us to carry out the necessary investigations to check whether we can progress our plans to build an offshore wind farm off the east coast of the Isle of Man,” added Benj Sykes, DONG Energy Vice President, UK Wind Power and Head of Asset Management. “We are still very much in the early stages, but this agreement means we can move forward with assessing vital factors, such as wind speeds and ground conditions, critical to determining the viability of the project.”
Image Credit: Marlusz Kluzniak, via Flickr
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