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Isle of Man wind farm talks with Ireland

The Isle of Man government hopes to begin talks with Ireland about the possibility of Irish Sea wind farm links between the two nations.

The initial negotiations are due to take place at a meeting of the British Irish Council on 20 June.

Plans to extend the UK electricity grid out as far as Ireland are on the agenda at the diplomatic meeting in London.

Chief Minister Tony Brown said if this happens the Isle of Man could be well placed to benefit.

Local opposition

He said: “We are mid way between England and Ireland and therefore there is a potential renewable energy opportunity.

“I think it is very early days yet but it will be interesting to hear what is being proposed and how we can be an active party in that.”

Tynwald has committed to having 15% of the island’s electricity generated from renewable sources by 2015.

But a plan for wind farms in the west of the island faced stiff opposition from residents.

Mr Brown said if energy could be brought in from an Irish wind farm the island could avoid building turbines close to the Manx coast.

“We are of course conscious that a wind farm could create renewable energy for the island but we are also aware of the impact that may have visually.”

The Isle of Man government is also hoping a planned wind farm development by Centrica will lead to further expansion of wind power.

Energy minister John Shimmin has said the company’s plans site turbines about 12 miles off the island in 2015 could facilitate a further Manx development in about 2018.