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.’
Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?
The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?
The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.
Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.
The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.
Introducing New Technology
The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.
- To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
- Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
- Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.
How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy
Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.
The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.
The Internet of Things
Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.
Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.
It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.
“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)
The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.
4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy
Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.
However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?
A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.
1. Boulder Nissan
When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:
- Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
- They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
- Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.
This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.
2. Valley Electric Association
In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.
“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”
The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.
This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.
3. Las Vegas Casinos
A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.
“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”
There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.
4. Boston College
Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.
Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.
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