Isle of Man News - POSTED Tue 08-04-2014

Manx seas for wind farms?

by Joanne Clague

Manx seas for wind farms? - picture

Tynwald will today be asked to support the development of wind farm technology and gas exploration inside the Isle of Man's territorial seas border.

A report by the Council of Ministers says electricity produced in the 12 mile territorial limit would be exported to neighbouring jurisdictions but could become an alternative local supply in the future. There are no plans to explore shale gas extraction - or 'fracking' - which has caused controversy in the UK.

The Isle of Man has responsibility for around 4,000 square kilometres of the Irish Sea and, says the government, an opportunity to produce offshore energy for export from wind, marine renewables and hydrocarbon resources.

The report states: 'The shallow water depth in the Isle of Man territorial seas are served with significant wind resource in close proximity to the UK which allows potential sites for cost effective offshore wind farms supplying renewable energy to the UK. A significant opportunity therefore exists for the Isle of Man to lease its seabed for the generation of renewable energy for export to assist the UK to meet its national and European renewable energy targets.'

Such leases would bring in £5million annually, claims the report, which also forecasts the creation of at least 60 new jobs on any offshore wind farm project site after the construction phase. A royalty would be levied for the extraction of gas that, claims the report, would generate revenue of around £100 million over 20 years.

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