DONG Energy has signed an Agreement for Lease (AfL) with the Isle of Man Government to carry out preliminary investigations for a potential offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea.
The AfL gives DONG Energy the right to investigate an area approximately 6-12 miles off the east coast of the island to determine its suitability for an offshore wind farm.
It will take a number of years to complete these investigations, after which there will be an option to execute a lease with the Isle of Man Government for the seabed over the lifetime of the wind farm, if conditions are suitable.
Benj Sykes, Head of Asset Management for Wind Power at DONG Energy, 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."
Isle of Man 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.
"DONG Energy is the global market leader in offshore wind farm developments and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to this project."
The AfL was signed at a ceremony today (30th November 2015) at the Council Chamber in the Isle of Man Government offices.
Environmental consent would be needed before a lease is signed with the Isle of Man Government and if conditions are not suitable for an offshore wind farm, DONG Energy will hand the site back to the Isle of Man Government.
Subject to the specific findings of the investigations throughout the development stage, construction activities would be likely to take place post-2020. If the wind farm is constructed, it is likely to be up to approximately 700 megawatts in size.