The government plans to generate 75% of the island’s electricity from renewable sources by 2026.
Work has now started on a programme to fully decarbonise the Isle of Man’s electricity supply using solar and wind power by 2030.
Manx Utilities has received approval from the Council of Ministers for its plans to begin construction projects which will see up to 30 megawatts of electricity produced from onshore wind and solar energy over the next three years.
A statement from the government says: ‘Energy security is also a factor in the drive to diversify the island’s energy mix, which has been brought into sharp focus with the conflict in Ukraine and the subsequent volatility in the energy markets.
‘Concerns over the global supply of gas – used to generate most of the island’s electricity – have seen prices reach record highs, fuelling inflation and putting pressure on energy bills.’
Daphne Caine MHK, the chair of the Climate Change Transformation Board, feels the move is positive.
She said: ‘It is essential that the island transitions away from fossil fuels (such as natural gas) for electricity generation, to carbon neutral technologies including solar and wind to help meet our interim target of 35% reduction in emissions by 2030 and of course net zero by 2050.
‘Installing at least 20MW of local onshore renewables was a commitment given in our Climate Change Plan, approved last October.
‘So I am delighted that Manx Utilities are actively pursuing these plans to support our net zero goals.’
The conflict in Ukraine has contributed to the price of gas reaching record highs, which has put pressure on energy bills for everyone.
Many countries have been working to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels but this has become more urgent with the economic crisis.
Chief Minister Alfred Cannan explained that 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,’ he said.
‘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.’
Chair of Manx Utilities Tim Johnston MHK added: ‘Currently, electricity demand in the Isle of Man averages at around 40 megawatts and peaks at about 75 megawatts in winter, but can fall to as low as 25 megawatts at night during the summer.
‘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.’
More information on the Isle of Man’s journey to net zero can be found at netzero.im
Have your say: Email