Isle of Wight tidal power initiative gains full approval

Planning permission was granted yesterday, 14 December, for the onshore elements of a ground-breaking tidal energy generation project: Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre. The Isle of Wight Council has unanimously approved the construction of a substation within the Southern Water Services compound to the west of Ventnor.

This approval is a huge boost to the UK’s renewable energy sector. PTEC now has all the consents in place to proceed with their proposal – England’s first multi megawatt tidal stream power generation project. By placing tidal turbines in the sea off the south coast of the Isle of Wight, the project will supply predictable, renewable energy direct to the national grid.

PTEC, with consenting activities being managed by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), has already signed an agreement with technology developer Orbital Marine Power to deploy its innovative and proven O2 turbine with the project.

This planning approval is particularly timely given the government’s announcement in November that it will support the tidal energy sector. It has committed to give £20 million per year in the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) round, which opened yesterday.

Rob Stevens, Chairman of PTEC, said: “At a time when the world’s reliance on fossil fuels is causing significant challenges, gaining permission for the onshore elements of the PTEC project is of national importance. Tidal energy is now a proven route to continuous, clean energy generation and has enormous potential.  The government’s commitment comes at the perfect time, enabling the UK to take advantage of this source of carbon neutral energy generation.

“Once we have government support in place we can start work, with the aim to begin operations in 2025. Throughout the planning process, we’ve offered multiple opportunities and avenues for stakeholders and residents to engage with us, and their feedback has helped us shape our proposal. Going forward regular consultation and engagement will be fundamental to the construction process to make it as smooth as possible.”

This project has been in development since 2012. The local authority originally agreed permission for the onshore elements of the project in June 2015, and the Marine Management Organisation gave the offshore plans the go-ahead in April 2016. However, a change in government policy in 2016 put the plans temporarily on hold. One result of the delay was that the onshore planning application needed to be resubmitted.

Onshore construction work is anticipated to commence in 2023, for completion by 2025. In line with the commitments made during the public consultation process, PTEC will work with local residents and businesses to ensure minimal disturbance.

The PTEC project will bring economic growth to the Isle of Wight, creating an innovative new industry sector for the island and renewed attention to this part of the UK, as well as helping the Isle of Wight Council achieve the targets it has set in its recently published ‘Mission Zero Climate and Environment Strategy 2021 – 2040’.