The Isle of Man Government has announced plans to decarbonise the island’s electricity supply by 2026 via 30MW’s of solar and onshore wind generation.
The island is a self-governing crown dependency in the Irish Sea and has laid out plans for state-owned electricity supplier Manx Utilities to generate 30MW of clean electricity by 2026.
The Isle of Man currently uses a range of different energy for electricity, including natural gas, liquified fuel, hydropower and a subsea cable link to England. This has led to a discussion in government around energy security – particularly following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
By establishing a target to develop solar and onshore wind projects on the island, the government is looking to gain full control over its own energy supplies. If achieved, the island would become fully independent and be less susceptible to volatile international fossil fuel prices.
“Events over the past year have brought into sharp focus the importance of energy security and the risks of volatility in the energy markets. It has also highlighted the benefits of investing in alternative ways of generating electricity,” said chief minister Alfred Cannan.
“Harnessing the power of the sun and the wind will mean we can utilise our Island’s natural resources to reduce carbon emissions whilst making the Isle of Man less reliant on imported fossil fuels.”
In 2020, the island launched a Prior Information Notice (PIN) for 20MW of onshore renewable energy in a bid to scale its clean energy capacity. It also confirmed a PIN for offshore wind.
Along with this, the island has targeted decarbonisation of heat with a ban on fossil fuel heating in new homes from 2025. The government laid out plans to establish a new, low electric heating tariff to encourage electrification of heating.
“Currently, electricity demand in the Isle of Man averages at around 40MW and peaks at about 75MW in winter but can fall to as low as 25MW at night during the summer,” said chair of Manx Utilities Tim Johnston.
“With the help of independent specialist consultants, Manx Utilities has undertaken detailed work to determine the best approach to increasing the Island’s use of renewable energy whilst not compromising supply security and the needs of its customers.
“To meet the programme deadlines, sites in public ownership are being targeted for installing solar panels; this will involve the use of car parks and government buildings. Subject to planning approvals, wind turbines could be built on publicly owned sites focussing on areas where the wind yield is likely to be highest.”