An energy giant is to carry out a feasibility study into developing an offshore windfarm to the north of the Isle of Man.
DONG energy has been awarded an exclusivity agreement from the Crown Estate to search an area within the Outer Solway.
The area to be searched over the next four months is located entirely in Scottish territorial waters to the north of the Isle of Man and to the south of Luce Bay in Dumfries and Galloway.
DONG’s feasibility study will consider the potential for the development of a windfarm covering 60kmsq that would generate about 300 megawatts of electricity, enough energy to meet the average needs of up to 230,000 homes.
The project aims to contribute to helping Scotland fulfil its commitment to generating 100 per cent of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020.
DONG Energy, which has its headquarters in Denmark, is one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe and the UK.
It already has two 90 megawatt (MW) windfarms at Barrow in the East Irish Sea and Burbo Bank in Liverpool Bay and also operates Gunfleet Sands in the Thames estuary, which has a generating capacity of 172 MW.
In the future it hopes to operate a further windfarm at Walney Island, which will have a generating capacity of 151 MW, as well as five more UK projects that are currently at various stages of development.
DONG Energy says it is committed to a period of early consultation with key stakeholders, to establish their views on the potential viability of an offshore windfarm in the Outer Solway area and to get their views on the key elements that should be included in any subsequent full public consultation.
Further progress on any project is subject to the granting of additional rights by the Crown Estate.
DONG would then be in a position to bring forward detailed proposals, which would be the subject of a full public consultation and subsequently apply for consent from the Scottish Government.
The Steam Packet has already voiced concerns at the impact of an increasing number of windfarms in the Irish Sea and is objecting to proposals by Centrica to site one between Anglesey and the Isle of Man in a position that cuts through both the Heysham and Liverpool routes.
Meanwhile, the Isle of Man Government is actively looking at the possibility of allowing a windfarm development in Manx waters.
In May 2010, Tynwald voted unanimously in favour of a target of generating 15 per cent of the island’s electricity from renewable sources by 2015.
The government is seeking expressions of interest for the development of a 20 megawatt onshore windfarm.
Ocean Electric Power is proposing a £30m onshore wind turbine scheme on the coastline between Jurby and Ballaugh.
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