Isle of Wight secures funds for tidal energy project to boost employment

October 20th, 2012 by Isle of Wight Council

The Needles jut out from the western end of the Isle of Wight. There are plans for a 1 MW nursery tidal test site adjacent to Fort Victoria at the western entrance to the Solent (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Isle of Wight Council has received a double boost in its efforts to support the green economy.

The council has secured nearly £700,000 of European money to help finance the necessary preparatory works for its Solent Offshore Energy Centre (SOEC) proposals to create tidal energy testing facilities off the Island’s southern tip at St Catherine’s Point.

It has also secured a further £1.1 million towards the establishment of private sector-led consortium (Solent Offshore Renewable Energy Consortium – SOREC) to support businesses across the south east of England wishing to take advantage of the growing number of opportunities in the offshore renewables sector.

The Solent Offshore Renewable Energy Consortium is one of the Isle of Wight Council’s major Eco Island projects that fulfils its aim of using the green agenda to stimulate the local economy and boost employment prospects.

The SOEC testing / demonstration facility to develop tidal energy technology will produce 20MW of energy but could lead to the creation of a full scale tidal energy production centre also off St Catherine’s capable of generating 200-250 MW of renewable energy (enough to power 136,000 homes).

Between them, the two projects will create and safeguard many hundreds of jobs across the Solent region – a significant number of which would be on the Island.

Cllr David Pugh, IW Council Leader, said “there is still a lot of work to be done to bring our SOEC scheme to fruition, but these two announcements each represent significant steps in the right direction.

“The council’s commitment to this project is clear so it is heartening that the EU appreciate the opportunities that SOEC and offshore renewables (SOREC) offer to the green economy. This is in addition to the private sector which has also made a firm and substantial contribution to the development of SOEC.”

A decision on the IW Council’s bid for £1 million of Regional Growth Funding (RGF) for the project, which was shortlisted by the UK Government in the summer, will be known before the end of October 2012.


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