Isle of Man prepares for marine hydrokinetic development

Tidal stream turbine
Tidal power energy harvester

Manx Tidal Energy Ltd. and Tocardo Tidal Energy Ltd. have been selected by the Isle of Man, located in the British Isles, to provide tidal energy development as part of the government’s Vision2020 Plan.

The proposed hydrokinetic project will be located within the Manx Marine 12 nautical-mile offshore limit of the Irish Sea.

“Manx” delineates the people originating from the Isle of Man, and among other things, is also the name of the island’s authorized offshore marine environment. Sites within the Manx Marine development were chosen based on the 2012 Manx Marine Environmental Assessment and additional location guidance notes.

Information is not readily available on either the total monetary figures of the Vision2020 Plan or how much each company will receive from the Manx government for the development project. No data on the proposed generating capacity was immediately announced. However, surveys are expected to commence in 2015 for tidal power development sites around the island that include the Point of Ayre, Calf of Man and Castletown.

Manx Tidal is a newly formed company based in Douglas, the capital city of the Isle of Man. Manx Tidal will partner with a technology company to develop its sites, according to government officials.

The government’s additional preferred partner in the development is Tocardo.

Tocardo produces tidal and free-flow water turbines. In addition to six turbines operating in The Netherlands, HydroWorld.com reported in 2013 that Tocardo has ongoing projects in Japan and Nepal. Recently Tocardo signed a memorandum of understanding with Ekornergy, a South Korean energy company, to deliver tidal turbines that have a total 28 MW of generating capacity.

On Nov. 18, Tocardo announced it acquired IHC Tidal Energy, the tidal energy division of Dutch maritime company Royal IHC.

According to Tocardo, “IHC Tidal Energy has developed a tidal turbine with a vertical [axis], which after several test trials is nearing readiness for the commercial market. For several years Tocardo has been manufacturing tidal turbines with a horizontal [axis].”

Tocardo and the Manx government think Tocardo’s ability to offer two types of turbines will afford the tidal project a greater chance for success.

Government officials said they estimate the marine hydrokinetic project and other renewable energy development will boost the island economy’s annual revenue.

“The opportunities for the Isle of Man in renewable energy are significant,” said Minister for the Department of Infrastructure Phil Gawne. “We estimate that leasing parts of the seabed within our waters to offshore wind and tidal developers will generate at least £5M [US$7.8 million] of revenue per year directly to government, helping to fund public services as well as contributing to a lower carbon footprint.”

The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. According to the Manx government, the nation of roughly 86,000 inhabitants has the potential for development across a broad range of sectors, from financial services to local food and from ICT [information and communications technology] to offshore energy.
 

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