The director of an environmental centre aimed at educating people on green energy is leading a new project for the community.

Dave Quirk of the Energy and Sustainability Centre (ESC), an independent, not-for-profit non-governmental organisation, is looking to build a new form of energy storage in the island.

He is currently leading a consortium bidding, which involves firms coming together to submit joint bids for public contracts, for €5million of European Commission funding to do this.

ESC’s aim is to help maximise the economic and environmental benefit of the green transition to the Isle of Man.

The energy storage would be specifically designed for island communities.

Dr Dave Quirk, who is also chairman of charity Manx Geological Survey, says that five international companies are involved in the project.

The Technical University of Denmark and Aveiro University, Portugal, are also seeking backing from the Horizon Europe programme, which supports initiatives related to the green transition.

Dr Quirk, who is a visiting scientist at Technical University of Denmark, said: ‘Wind, solar and other sustainable forms of power have huge potential in many island communities, including the Isle of Man.

‘But the missing piece of the jigsaw is how to store energy when it is generated, but not immediately required, in order to efficiently manage peaks and troughs in supply and demand.

‘The consortium has developed a solution to that problem which we believe allows renewable energy to completely replace fossil fuel power stations.’

According to ESC, technical details cannot be released until the results of the bid are known, but the initial scheme is planned for Streymoy on the Faroe Islands.

However, Dr Quirk and his fellow ESC directors believe that the same technology has the potential to help the Isle of Man meet its commitments on net zero emissions.

‘It is remarkable how quickly the partners reached agreement on the bid,’ added Dr Quirk.

‘It serves as a good example of the drive the renewable energy industry has when there is consensus and the desire for progress.

‘We will have to wait until September for the outcome of the grant application but, in any case, we have other options to move the project forward in 2024.’

Other plans

The government unveiled its plans for more of the island’s electricity to be created by wind and solar power in February.

It explained that work had already started on a programme to decarbonise the Isle of Man’s electricity supply by 2030.

Manx Utilities has received Council of Ministers approval for its plans to begin construction projects which will see up to 30 megawatts of electricity produced from onshore wind and solar energy by 2026.

Chief Minister Alfred Cannan said at the time: ‘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.

‘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.’