Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Wind farm development 'paves the way' for Isle of Man

Wind turbines
Image caption Wind turbines could produce more electricity than the Isle of Man's total consumption

A wind farm development close to the Isle of Man will "pave the way" for future Manx energy development, says the environment minister.

Centrica plc is planning to create an offshore wind farm about 12 miles off the island.

The energy company was awarded wind farm development rights for the Irish Sea zone, in January 2010.

"The government is fully aware of Centrica's plans and we are working with them," Minister John Shimmin said.

"The simplest option for the Isle of Man would be to connect with Centrica and use the established infrastructure to get the power into the UK".

Centrica is yet to submit a planning application for the project but it is thought plans could get under way in 2015.

An off-shore wind farm that would then supply the Isle of Man could follow in 2018.

Once it is operating, says Mr Shimmin, the Manx facility could mean energy independence for the island.

"If we were to develop a reasonable sized off shore facility we would almost immediately become a net exporter of power," he said.

"Wind turbines could produce more electricity than the Isle of Man's total consumption."

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