The small self-governing territory of the Isle of Man has announced this week plans to generate 75% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2026, on a path to full decarbonisation by 2030.
It was only at the beginning of 2020 when the Isle of Man previously promised to generate 75% of its electricity from renewables by 2035. Three years later and Isle’s government has recognised the need for more immediate action and brought forward its goal by nearly a decade.
Ministers have also given the Isle’s state-owned electricity supplier, Manx Utilities, the go-ahead to begin work on generating 30MW of electricity from onshore wind and solar power within the next three years.
As it currently stands, the Isle of Man’s current electricity demand averages around 40MW, and peaks at 75MW in winter, while falling as low as 25MW at night during the summer.
Sites in public ownership such as carparks and government buildings will be targeted for the installation of solar panels. Meanwhile, wind turbines could also be built on publicly-owned sites, particularly in areas with high wind yield.
“Today marks a major milestone in the Isle of Man’s commitment to become a net zero nation by 2050 and to decarbonise our electricity production by 2030,” said Alfred Cannan MHK, the Isle of Man’s Chief Minister.
“Electricity generation is the largest single source of carbon emissions in the Isle of Man, accounting for around 35% of our annual total, so this is the obvious place to start with our decarbonisation plans if we are to make significant inroads, and quickly.
“Thirty megawatts by 2026 is an ambitious and stretching goal for an island community, but one we must achieve if we are to play our part in tackling global warming and climate change.”
Electricity on the Isle of Man is currently generated predominantly using natural gas, but is supplemented by diesel, energy from waste, hydroelectricity, as well as a subsea cable to England that combine to make up the remainder.
A more speedy transition to renewables is also expected to help reduce the Isle of Man’s reliance on imported fuels and minimise the island’s exposure to energy market volatility which, especially in Europe, has been exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
As the only nation in the world whose entire territory, from land to sea, is designated as a UNESCO Biosphere and an “international site of excellence” that pairs active conservation alongside responsible and sustainable development.
The Isle of Man’s Biosphere status “is something we are understandably proud of and which presents opportunities, but it also comes with considerable responsibility,” said Cannan.
“But putting sustainability front and centre sends a signal to investors and those we seek to attract to our shores: it demonstrates that in addition to being a competitive, well-regulated, and respected jurisdiction, the Isle of Man is also on course to be a green one.
“This is increasingly important to businesses and individuals. We cannot afford to stand still and risk being left behind.”