The southern site, Earystane and Scard, is the preferred site for Manx Utilities (MUA) windfarm.
The Manx Utilities' Board has endorsed a recommendation to progress the Earystane and Scard site to the Environmental Impact Assessment and Design stage. The assessment is expected to be completed in 2025 prior to submission of a planning application. It's been preferred over Sulby and Druidale in the north, however it's intended that the northern site will be looked at for possibly future development after 2026.
MUA said based on initial assessments undertaken by Wardell Armstrong this site appears to offer the best value to the electricity consumers of the Isle of Man with the lowest environmental impact when compared to the other option sites.
An MUA statement said: 'The Earystane and Scard location is one of the windiest locations in the Isle of Man and presents an excellent resource with anticipated wind speeds in excess of 10 metres per second.
'This would mean that five turbines could potentially deliver up to 130GWh per year; enough to meet one third of the island’s annual demand.
'The next phase of work involves a full Environmental Impact Assessment focusing on twelve key impact areas.
'These areas will cover Social (local stakeholders), Noise, Landscape & Visual, Ecology, Energy & Climate, Airport, Water & Flood, Transport, Air Quality, Geotechnical, Heritage and Archaeology, Planning and importantly provides for consultation with the local community.
'The consultation process will enable Island residents the opportunity to find out more about the project, how impacts would be managed and how to actively participate in the design.
'The Environmental Impact Assessment is expected to be completed in 2025 prior to submission of a planning application.
'In January 2023, the Council of Ministers supported Manx Utilities proposals to progress actions to deliver onshore renewable energy through a 20MW onshore windfarm, as well as 10MW solar deployed across rooftops and car parks on the public estate. These objectives are outlined in the Isle of Man Government Island Plan, Energy Strategy and support the requirements of the Climate Plan 2022-2027.
'In March 2023, specialist consultants Wardell Armstrong were appointed to carry out an environmental and technical appraisal of three sites in Government ownership on the Isle of Man, to assess the feasibility of delivering a 20MW onshore windfarm by 2026 and to make a recommendation on which site should be taken forward to the next stage of assessments.
'A SODAR (Sonic Detection and Ranging Device) has already been installed in Earystane Plantation where all turbines are expected to be located to monitor wind speed over the next 12 months. It is intended to move the device to Sulby and Druidale after the 12-month period to provide data for any possible future development after 2026. Bird and bat surveys have also commenced at Earystane and Scard and will last for a minimum of 18 months to ensure two seasons of data have been gathered.'
MUA said the supply of wind turbines is currently experiencing long lead times and therefore a procurement process has been initiated to ensure an early placing of an order can be accommodated to meet the objective to deliver a windfarm by 2026.
MUA said information on planned public engagement sessions for both the local community and Island residents will be publicised. Further information can be found out at www.manxutilities.im.