An onshore wind farm should be one of the main priorities for the Isle of Man for the generation of electricity and to meet long term renewable energy targets.
However, such a scheme is expected to receive widespread public opposition because of the visual impact, says a report prepared for the government by AEA Technology plc and published today.
Eight potential zones have been identified for wind farms on the Island – in the north and central areas – but the report warns that the greatest barrier is public opposition. The areas zoned are Ballacooiley (Jurby), Beary Mountain, Dalby Mountain, Gordon (Glenfaba), Keppel Gate, Snuff the Wind, Jurby and The Cronk (Bride).
Anticipating the response from the public, the report says, “The government should engage with local communities on the prospects for onshore wind generation.”
The report adds, “The renewable technology options described in this report could make a significant beneficial difference to the greenhouse gas emissions of the Island.”
The report also identifies four zones within Manx territorial waters for the possible creation of offshore wind generation capable of producing large amounts of electricity. However, this could only be done if agreement was reached where excess generation could be delivered through a direct connection with the UK in which Renewable Obligation certificates or similar are obtained.
The AEA report says that the Isle of Man has a virtually unlimited choice of options to choose from for generating renewable energy but the big decisions will revolve around the cost and the public reaction to the visual impact.
However, investment in a number of other renewable technologies is not on the cards as the report advises strongly not to put money into developing technology such as power from waves, tidal lagoons and tidal currents. These ideas are said to be “risky and expensive”.
However, small scale research and development projects on such topics might be worth considering with the long term objective of establishing new clean tech enterprises which could benefit the Isle of Man through longer term exports or eventual commercial application on the Island.
Small hydro generation is said to have potential but the cost of production is high and the report also says this should not be pursued. AEA also says that small scale wind systems and solar photovoltaic are expensive options which did not score well in the report’s overall assessment.
The report and its recommendations will be discussed in depth at a public meeting to be held on Monday next, December 6th, hosted by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA).
AEA have been working on this report over recent months. DEFA says that the information contained within will prove “invaluable for Tynwald members” and will inform future Tynwald decisions on renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy security.
Minister John Shimmin MHK said, “This report comes at a very timely moment and gives us an expert view of how different types of renewables could contribute to our energy needs in the future.”
The presentation will cover the main elements of the report which are:
• The current supply and demand of energy on the Island;
• The potential to improve energy efficiency;
• The state of technology-readiness for a wide range of large scale and household renewables and low carbon options for the Isle of Man, with specific reference to the resources available and scope for deployment on the Island;
• The relative attributes of future energy options with an independent view on the priority order for the technologies;
• The impacts of each option so this can inform future policy development;
• Recommendations on how the Isle of Man should take forward its longer term renewable energy strategy.
The presentation will commence at 7pm on Monday, 6th December at the Manx Museum, Kingswood Grove. The full report is available online at http://www.gov.im/defa/enviro/energy/
AEA’s project manager for the study, Mark Johnson, said, “Our work provides an evidence base that can be used to develop future policy on energy for the Island. This comprehensive study considers energy efficiency as well as renewable energy options. This includes tools that can be adapted as technology cost and performance develops.”
Martin Hall, chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Officer Group, added, “A huge amount of research has gone into this report and I would like to thank all those businesses and departments involved for their contributions, without which this report would not have been possible.”
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