The Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES) is a major initiative designed to enable the development of interconnected grid networks to enhance the integration of marine and offshore renewable energy between the three ISLES partner countries Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Each of the three partner administrations has significant potential for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy generation. However, planning and licensing, market and regulatory complexities between the three jurisdictions act as a potential challenge to joint development. ISLES is designed to smooth the pathway to future development of high-quality, efficient, renewable energy developments.
The Scottish Government is lead administrative partner for ISLES in collaboration with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) in Ireland and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) in Northern Ireland. The ISLES objectives align closely with the EU ambition of increasing renewable energy generation capacity and interconnection.
The project partners secured additional INTERREG IVA funding for a second phase of ISLES in 2013. Entitled 'Towards Implementation' it includes three distinct work-streams:
• ISLES Spatial Plan
• Network Regulation and Market Alignment Study
• Business Plan
Consultants have been procured to deliver these work-streams and the outputs will begin to emerge in early 2015, after a period of extensive stakeholder consultation and engagement.
More information on the project can be found at http://www.islesproject.eu/isles-ii/
Consultation on Draft ISLES Spatial Plan
In February 2015 a consultation was launched on a number of draft documents including the ISLES Spatial Plan and Sustainability Appraisal, comprising of: a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA); a Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) to identify the potential for effects on European nature conservation sites; and a Socio-economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) – an assessment of the impacts of the plan on communities, other users of the sea and the economy. More information can be found at http://www.islesproject.eu/isles-ii/
In response to the consultation the Isle of Man Government submitted a response in April 2015.