The government believes that it could raise money by selling electricity generated by wind farms in Manx waters to the UK.
Today it announced it was looking for a consultant to help it sift through tenders for offshore wind farms in Manx waters.
In May 2013 Tynwald agreed that the government would explore opportunities to develop potential offshore energy production in the island’s territorial seas for export to neighbouring jurisdictions on the grounds that this could both assist with the provision of renewable energy while also generating a income for public services.
Minister for Economic Development John Shimmin said: ‘There is a significant opportunity for the Isle of Man to lease parts of its seabed for the generation of renewable energy to assist the United Kingdom to meet its national and European renewable energy targets for 2020.
‘Locating wind turbines in our territorial sea will potentially generate millions of pounds worth of revenue per year for the Isle of Man Government.
‘Offshore wind farms also offer other economic development potential for the Isle of Man. These offshore installations will require onshore facilities to meet the operation and maintenance of the turbines so we are estimating the creation of around 60 jobs if just one wind farm is progressed.
‘Previous research showed that 85 per cent of the Manx public were in favour of an offshore wind farm.
‘Consultation will continue with all stakeholders potentially impacted by the development of any wind farms in Isle of Man territorial sea.’
The Isle of Man owns its territorial sea out to the 12 nautical mile limit and so has responsibility for marine spatial planning and zoning over approximately 4,000 km2of the Irish Sea which is greater than 87 per cent of the island’s territory.
The government is currently developing a marine plan for the island’s territorial seas, which will take into consideration current and future uses of the marine environment and other relevant information. This will enable the identification of opportunity areas for suitable developments within the marine environment.
Ken Milne, the Department of Economic Development’s senior manager for energy policy, said: ‘The British Isles is home to 25 per cent of Europe’s wind resource. This resource, combined with the shallow depth of water and close proximity to the UK, make offshore wind generation cost effective in the Isle of Man.
‘The UK’s indigenous hydrocarbon energy sources are in decline which creates an opportunity for the Isle of Man to export more sustainable and climate-friendly energy to the United Kingdom.
‘The Energy Bill currently proceeding through the United Kingdom’s legislative process will enable joint projects to be eligible for renewable incentives so that renewable energy can be generated in neighbouring countries such as the Isle of Man for export to the UK.
‘The terms of any joint project would need to be agreed with the UK however, should it be required it is possible in later years for the Isle of Man to import a percentage of the generated renewable energy from the offshore wind farm.’
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