Centrica and DONG Energy have submitted initial proposals for a giant 2.2GW offshore wind farm between Anglesey and the Isle of Man.
The two energy companies have set up a joint venture called Celtic Array and say they intend to submit an application to the Planning Inspectorate by the end of 2013 with the aim of beginning construction in 2017. Named Rhiannon, the wind farm would comprise between 147 and 440 turbines.
But the Steam Packet Company has already objected to Celtic Array’s proposals which will cut through both the Heysham and Liverpool routes.
And now Infrastructure Minister Mr Cretney has raised similar concerns in a letter to Centrica’s Irish Sea Zone development manager.
He said the Isle of Man Government was supportive of moves to a low carbon economy and said the generation of energy from renewable sources was ‘not just essential environmentally but will create economic opportunities throughout the British Isles’.
But he added: ‘However, the needs of the Isle of Man including the maintenance of the essential shipping lanes to the island much be considered by any proposed wind farm development.
‘The additional journey times resulting from proposed offshore wind farm development would increase travel costs to and from the island and would have a significant impact on our economy, damaging the competitiveness of existing island businesses when trading with the UK and the rest of Europe. It could also be expected that additional sea journey times and a less reliable and predictable ferry service would place at risk future economic development and act as an impediment to free trade.’
Mr Cretney said wind farms could also have complex cumulative impacts on fishing patterns, wildlife habitats and species such as basking sharks and Risso’s dolphins.