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Helping the Isle of Man meet its ambitious targets for renewable energy, net zero and economic growth

APEM Group - Case Study

GoBe are supporting Ørsted in its consent application for the Isle of Man’s first offshore wind farm, Mooir Vannin. This development will help the Isle of Man meet their ambitious targets for renewable energy, net zero and economic growth.

Working with developing legislation

  • Working within the planning and legislative regime in the Isle of Man, the project team will be working in an emerging and evolving planning framework under MIMA 2016
  • With a predicted output in the region of 1.4GW, Mooir Vannin will enable the Isle of Man to meet its own renewable energy needs and become an energy exporter
  • Proportionate approach applied: a progressive method that enables a more efficient decision-making process by balancing the need to evaluate all available information with focussing attention on the pathways most likely to result in significant effects
  • Proactive and thorough engagement with stakeholders to develop a robust application

Mooir Vannin offshore windfarm is a pioneering project for the Isle of Man. The Manx government has not previously dealt with consenting an offshore wind project in its own territorial waters, and secondary provisions enabling the planning framework to progress have not yet been enacted.

This unique situation offered GoBe the opportunity to bring decades of global experience directly to Ørsted and the Manx government, taking in their requirements and making the development unique to the Island’s planning system and natural environment.

Wind turbines APEM Marine Consultancy team

apem offshore wind turbine

Potential energy generated will meet the Isle of Man’s ambitious energy targets

This is an opportunity for the Isle of Man to realise its ambitious renewable energy, net zero and economic growth targets. Power generated by the project could be sold to neighbouring countries, while lease fees will also bring further financial benefit to the island.

Despite the lack of specific guidance on how to undertake EIA in the Isle of Man, Mooir Vannin is voluntarily applying the highest assessment standards to make sure potential environmental impacts are considered. With no formal statutory consultation requirements yet enshrined in legislation, Mooir Vannin is actively engaging with the local community and Government, and has taken the decision to publish an Environmental Impact Assessment Progress Report in summer 2024, enabling the gathering of opinion from statutory and non-statutory stakeholders, and the public. Although a formal consultation may not ultimately be required, the high-quality information gathered will be crucial to planning for mitigation and design as part of the final application.

Legislation currently out for consultation includes the Marine Infrastructure Management Act 2016 (the planning legislation that will cover consents) and the Climate Change Act 2021, which would enable the Isle of Man Government to issue a formal Scoping Opinion on the Applicant’s Scoping Report which was submitted in October 2023.

 

‘‘

The Isle of Man has the potential to be a pioneer for other Island nations – demonstrating how to develop and accommodate large scale renewable projects above and beyond local needs, export to neighbouring nations, and help make a sizeable contribution to global carbon emissions reduction.

John Galloway, Ørsted Development Director for the Isle of Man Offshore Wind Farm

’’

Proportionate approach to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

One key aspect of the ongoing EIA is the proportionate approach. Adapted in this case to an unfolding regulatory position, the process identified issues that are most important to stakeholders (including statutory and non-statutory consultees and members of the public), drawing upon baseline data and professional experience from the project team – including EIA professionals from GoBe and its teams of specialists.

Key environmental constraints are expected to include shipping and navigation, commercial fisheries and seascape, landscape and visual impacts. Having identified these issues (the Likely Significant Effects, or LSE), the EIA outlines the approach to minimising and mitigating their effects where necessary.

A three-stage ‘Commit, Consult, Design’ ethos was applied to planning, with the identified impacts integrated into development, driving design and minimising adverse environmental effects.

  • Commit: A Commitments Register is set up with commitments to mitigate LSE (by reducing or eliminating them)
  • Consult: Wide consultation on the project parameters and associated commitments to reduce or avoid LSE
  • Design: The earliest stages of the design process relating to route planning and site selection will incorporate a number of commitments to avoid or reduce LSE

A proportionate approach aims to avoid or reduce impacts with an early commitment to avoid the most sensitive, important or valuable features, enabling the scope of the EIA to be streamlined to focus on the key issues, reducing the volume of assessment material required and enabling an efficient decision-making process.

Stakeholder engagement

The project has offered the unique possibility for GoBe and Ørsted to speak directly to the Isle of Man government and its advisors, to make sure the Island’s rich and varied environment is appropriately assessed. With input from NGOs including Manx Wildlife Trust, Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch, Manx Bird Life and Bangor University, the assessment will be built on robust data about the local environment and takes into account local knowledge.

For an island population, stakeholder engagement and communication are key. Establishing a physical presence with an office on the Isle of Man was important to the project team. As well as providing visibility, Ørsted has committed to the community through consultation.

Communication and openness have been fundamental to the success of the project. The GoBe team have demonstrated flexibility, adaptability and honesty, with willingness to challenge as well as contribute. With regular in-person engagement with stakeholders on the Isle of Man, GoBe have maintained insight into the project as it develops.

‘‘

Mooir Vannin is a fascinating one-of-a-kind project with challenges and rewards in equal measure. Ørsted has given me the opportunity to truly be part of the team and take a role in not just advising, but actively developing and positively contributing to the project. There’s never a dull moment – the project demands adaptability to change and a solution-orientated approach. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time on the island to get to know its key stakeholders and experience its rich culture and wildlife. Every day I look forward to working on Mooir Vannin and hope I can help Ørsted deliver a beneficial renewable energy project for the Island.

Ryan McManus, Principal Consultant for GoBe

’’

‘‘

We’re delighted to be working with GoBe and SLR on the Mooir Vannin Offshore Wind Farm in the Isle of Man. Their expertise is respected across the global wind energy industry, and Ørsted has long working relationship with GoBe on other offshore projects in the UK. They continuously play a vital role in the consenting process for our offshore wind farm developments, ensuring sustainable development and minimal impact on marine ecosystems. They are a safe and trusted partner as we take the next important steps in the development of the Mooir Vannin Offshore Wind Farm Project.

A representative from Ørsted

’’

About APEM Group:

APEM Group are a leading global environment consultancy providing expert advice to clients in a wide range of industries including renewables, water, infrastructure, marine and ports, transport, construction, and development. The company provides digital aerial wildlife surveys, specialist marine, freshwater, terrestrial ecology and geospatial services to organisations across the world.

About GoBe:

GoBe Consultants joined the APEM Group in May 2022. Meeting the demand for strategic solutions and project specific experts to support planning and environmental plans, GoBe work in projects in offshore wind, marine renewables, marine aggregates, coastal infrastructure and subsea cabling. Working closely with developers in the UK, Europe and the US, we provide informed and accurate advice and technical expertise, sharing our in-depth knowledge and understanding of the consenting process for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) and offshore wind developments.

About Ørsted:

Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, renewable hydrogen and green fuels facilities, and bioenergy plants. Ørsted is recognised on the CDP Climate Change A List as a global leader on climate action and was the first energy company in the world to have its science-based net-zero emissions target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs approx. 8,900 people (January 2024).

 

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