The project will have elements both offshore and onshore.
A number of different tidal turbine technologies will be operated in groups or ‘arrays’ within an area of 5 km². Export cables on the seabed will bring the electricity generated from the offshore site to an onshore project substation.
The above image shows the location of the offshore site, 2.5 km (1.3 nautical miles) south of St Catherine’s Point, as well as the subsea cable corridor.
The export cable(s) will bring the electricity generated by the tidal turbines to land at Castle Cove; this has been selected as the location that will cause the least environmental impact. The cables will connect to a small project substation/control room, where the cables come ashore. Buried power cables will be laid from the project substation to an existing substation at Wootton Common where it will connect to the Isle of Wight’s electricity grid. The grid connection process is being undertaken by the Distribution Network Operator.
The consenting process, which commenced in January 2013, was rigorous and involved significant consultation. Any potential environmental and community impacts were closely examined. The Marine Management Organisation gave final consent in April 2016. Some of the assessments, studies and surveys included:
- A year of monthly boat-based bird and marine mammal surveys (August 2013 to July 2014)
- Commercial fisheries investigations
- Geophysical and seabed ecology surveys and habitat mapping to provide a detailed understanding of the benthic ecology at the site
- Geophysical data analysis by specialists in Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) to determine the presence of any potential hazards at the site
- Shipping and navigation studies to address navigational safety and potential interactions of the project with maritime users
- Landscape/seascape specialist site visits to assess potential visual impacts of the onshore and offshore components of the project
- Archaeologist site visits for the onshore substation and cable route in 2014 and evaluation trenching in the onshore area in 2015
- Archaeologist reviews of offshore geophysical data to determine the potential for impacts on archaeological interests
- Terrestrial ecologists surveys on the onshore substation site and cable routes
- An Environmental Statement outlining the findings of the site characterisation studies and the impact assessment was submitted with the planning application for the project. This was followed by additional information provided to the consenting authorities as part of the consultation process
- A review of the potential to impact designated sites of European importance (known as ‘Natura 2000’ sites) was also submitted with the planning application
PTEC will continue to work closely with the Isle of Wight Council, the Marine Management Organisation, Natural England and other stakeholders to minimise any potential impacts on the environment of the Isle of Wight and its surrounding seas.