The Isle of Man Department of Infrastructure has today signed a contract with DONG Energy aimed at further unlocking the Island’s potential to become a leader in offshore energy production, and work with the UK to meet its renewable energy targets.The Isle of Man is working with the UK in response to the global challenges that energy security and climate change present, and this represents a significant step forward.
The Agreement for Lease will allow DONG Energy, the UK’s largest operator of offshore wind farm developments, to explore the possibility of developing a wind farm in Manx waters off the north east coast of the Island.
The creation of an offshore energy hub is one of the core strategies of the Government’s long-term plans for economic growth. Leasing parts of the Isle of Man’s seabed for renewable energy generation is expected to make a significant contribution to public funds and local job creation, as well as lowering global carbon emissions.
DONG Energy is one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe and recently announced plans to build the world’s biggest offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea off the coast of Cumbria. Walney Extension is expected to be fully commissioned in 2018, surpassing the scale of the London Array Offshore Wind Farm.
The agreement with the Department of Infrastructure will enable the company to carry out preliminary surveys to determine the practicality and commercial viability of siting wind turbines within the 12-mile limit of the Island’s territorial sea.
Today’s announcement reinforces the Isle of Man’s desire to harness its natural resources for offshore energy production. It follows the granting of a survey licence to assess the potential to develop a tidal array off the North of the Island at Point of Ayre.
Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said: ‘The opportunities for renewable energy in Manx territorial waters are significant. The ambition of the industry is matched by a commitment from the Isle of Man Government to maximise the vast potential of the Irish Sea’s clean energy resources. DONG Energy is a world-renowned company with a strong track record of achievement in the development of offshore wind farms. We look forward to working with them to progress this exciting initiative.’
The Department of Infrastructure is working closely with the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and Treasury to develop the proposals.
Any wind farm development would be subject to approval under the relevant consenting regime and would also require the submission of a full environmental impact assessment, taking into account the need to protect transport links and fisheries.
Economic Development Minister Laurence Skelly MHK said: ‘The renewable energy sector has huge potential for the future and is a key part of our strategy to deliver Vision 2020 and grow the economy. As well as raising income through leasing parts of our seabed, there is the possibility of new jobs for Isle of Man workers, as offshore installations require onshore support to manage their operation and maintenance. If a wind farm in Manx waters is viable, all the infrastructure costs would be borne by the developer rather than the Isle of Man Government.’
He added: ‘DONG Energy is the global market leader in offshore wind farm developments and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to this project.’
Developments in renewable energy could open up an opportunity for the Isle of Man to position itself as a hub to coordinate offshore projects and enhance connections between countries in the Irish Sea region. There may also be a scope to secure future renewable electricity supplies for domestic use in the Isle of Man, as well as exporting power to the UK.
Benj Sykes, DONG Energy Vice President, UK Wind Power and Head of Asset Management, said: ‘We are pleased to sign this Agreement for Lease with the Isle of Man Government, which allows us to carry out the necessary investigations to check whether we can progress our plans to build an offshore wind farm off the east coast of the Isle of Man. We are still very much in the early stages, but this agreement means we can move forward with assessing vital factors, such as wind speeds and ground conditions, critical to determining the viability of the project.’
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!