The Department of Infrastructure is co-operating closely with the Department of Economic Development and the Department of the Environment Food and Agriculture to ensure that the Isle of Man gains overall benefit from the development of renewable energy projects, including wind farms, both inside and outside of the Isle of Man’s territorial waters. Regular and frequent contact continues to be maintained with Centrica and DONG Energy. They are the two companies presently developing wind farms in UK territorial waters and which hold the potential to adversely impact on the Isle of Man’s very important ferry routes.
The formal planning process which both companies have to follow to satisfy the UK regulators requires detailed consultation with affected communities, including the Isle of Man. David Cretney MHK, Minister for the Department of Infrastructure, sent a written response on behalf of the IOM Government, to Centrica on the 27 April 2012 regarding its Round 3 Zonal Assessment Plan (now being developed by Celtic Array on behalf of Centrica and DONG Energy). The Department has also corresponded with the UK’s Planning Inspectorate which is the body that will consider the application to develop the site to the south of Manx territorial waters in due course. These responses are the first steps to ensuring that the Isle of Man’s concerns regarding the potential adverse impact on its lifeline ferry services provided by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, are fully appreciated. See downloadable documents for a map of these sites.
Minister for Infrastructure David Cretney commented:
'The Department expects that Celtic Array’s application for its first Round 3 development area will be submitted in late 2013 and we therefore expect that the formal consultation process that is required in advance of such a submission will begin in the near future. DONG Energy is progressing an extension to the existing Walney wind farm off Barrow-in-Furness and has recently placed the formal planning notification in the Isle of Man media for the second round of public consultation. DONG Energy will be hosting a public consultation event at the Villa Marina on Wednesday 5 September from 1pm to 7pm and everybody who has an interest should attend and make their views known directly.'
On Tuesday 28 August the Director of Harbours, Captain Michael Brew, together with senior representatives from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, met officials from the UK’s Department for Transport, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Chamber of Shipping and Trinity House in order to brief them on the potential adverse impacts that wind farms could have on the Isle of Man’s social and economic wellbeing. These officials were supportive of the Isle of Man’s position and confirmed that this view would be reflected in their future dealings with respect to wind farm development in the Irish Sea.