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Doubt cast on wind

A proposed 20MW on-shore wind farm will increase the price of electricity for island customers.

That’s according to the Green Power Manx Group (GPMG), which has been researching the science behind different types of renewable energy options that may benefit the island.

Instead it believes the money saved by not building a wind farm could be used to save considerably more CO2 in the short and long term.

The GPMG is comprised of Dr Ffynlo Craine, Dave Hussey and Ken Woodham.

They describe themselves as a small group of professional engineers who have spent the last two years examining the science behind renewable energy options that may benefit the island.

It has also looked at the ways in which the island could best play its part in limiting climate change.

In its recently-published policy statement, based on its findings, it states the island has an expensive electricity supply but the gas price is a minor part of the cost.

‘Generating more electricity with the Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) at Pulrose could bring the cost of electricity down but the proposed 20MW wind farm will put the cost of our electricity up.’

The group believes output should be increased from the CCGT to replace ‘the more carbon intensive oil used in space heating and transport’, which it said accounts for more than 50 per cent of emissions.

The GPMG believes there are better alternatives to a wind farm: ‘The MEA emits less than 30 per cent of the island’s total CO2 emissions.

‘In the short term a 20MW wind farm could save 3 per cent of the island’s CO2.

‘In the longer term it will significantly increase the fuel consumption of our power station.

‘This will wipe out all of the accrued carbon savings of such a wind farm.’

The statement continues: ‘The money saved by not building a wind farm could finance heat conservation and oil replacement programmes. Such initiatives would save considerably more CO2 in the short and long term.’

The Council of Ministers invited expressions of interest from companies wishing to develop, finance, build and operate a 20MW wind farm in the Isle of Man.

In 2010 a public meeting was held into a plan by UK-based Ocean Electric Power to build an on-shore wind farm on the coast between Jurby and Ballaugh.

The scheme would see up to 10 130m-high turbines being installed, producing 12 per cent of the island’s electricity.

The group believes that the island’s population, culture and infrastructure makes it an ‘ideal’ research and development facility to develop load management tools.

In the statement, it says: ‘By moving away from the existing supply on demand regime that has been the hallmark of the electricity supply industry from its earliest days, we will be able to design a renewable energy programme that is appropriate to our needs.’