Anglesey Energy Island Initiative Launched

The Anglesey Energy Island concept is to be formally launched on Friday by Welsh Assembly Government First Minister Carwyn Jones. The new initiative will co-ordinate renewable energy projects on Anglesey, and help promote jobs and the local economy.

The Anglesey Energy Island concept describes how the isle of Anglesey off the North Wales coast in the UK can maximise its natural advantages due to its location and renewable resources.

Momentum is building up for projects to come on stream as the Welsh Assembly Government First Minister Carwyn Jones AM, visits Anglesey to launch the formal organisation in Menai Bridge on Friday.

The secretariat aims to drive and co-ordinate the various energy projects and initiatives and help transform the island economy and boost skilled job opportunities.

Local politicians hope that Anglesey Energy Island idea will act as a magnet for companies developing the latest renewable energy technologies so that they can use the island as a base for research, design and manufacture of the leading edge technologies.

Among the various sources of energy available on and around Anglesey are wind, tidal, biomass and significantly nuclear.

The current Wylfa nuclear power station has a generating capacity of just under 1GW and supplies baseload electricity to the UK national grid, however, the plant is due to close at the end of 2010. An extension may be possible for another couple of years if approval is given by the UK government.

In the meantime a prospective new nuclear power station, called Wylfa B, is being planned by Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture between the German energy giants RWE and E.ON.

Horizon plans to commission a new plant at Wylfa Head, adjacent to the existing Wylfa A site, and to generate around 3.3 GW of electricity using up to three new reactors.

Horizon is still in negotiation with two international companies, Westinghouse from the USA and French firm Areva, who are trying to secure licences for their reactor designs in the UK.

This project has the potential to bring around $14 billion into the Anglesey economy and generate around 5,000 jobs during construction and around 1,200 thereafter, and could last for the best part of 90 years.

Wind energy is another component of the Anglesey Energy Island concept and while there are already three wind farms on the island, there are major plans to build a large wind farm offshore to the north of Anglesey, as the Irish Sea Zone licence was awarded to Centrica Renewable Energy and has a potential yield of around 4.2 GW.

Anglesey is well placed to act as a location to manufacture and maintain the infrastructure including the towers and blades, given its excellent port facilities at Holyhead and a local workforce which will soon benefit from top class fabrication and engineering skills training at Llangefni.

First Minsiter Carwyn Jones AM has visited the Coleg Menai site with local MP Albert Owen to see the excellent facilities available to train up local people.

There is already a major 750 MW offshore wind farm development going ahead at Gwynt-y-Mor, about 12 miles east of the Anglesey coast, where around 250 wind turbines are being installed, after it received the go-ahead from the UK Government's Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Another area of renewable energy is tidal power and a joint venture between npower renewable and MCT called Seagen Wales is looking to install a 10.5 MW tidal turbine farm in the Langdon ridge between the Skerries and Carmel Head in North West Anglesey.

Seven 1.5 MW Seagen turbines would be attached to the seabed in about 25 metres of some of the most tidal stretches around UK coastal waters.

Yet another source of energy being considered is biomass, and Anglesey Aluminium Metal Renewables Limited has applied for permission to construct a 300 MW biomass plant on unused land at the former aluminium smelter site outside Holyhead.

A jetty is available at nearby Holyhead Port to receive the specially designed cargo ships that would import wood pellets and chips sourced from roots and branches from carefully controlled timber production in North America.

In October 2009 the company applied to the UK Government for permission to build the power plant under s.36 of the Electricity Act for a project which it says should over the lifetime of the project be carbon neutral.

Going forward local businesses and politicians are hopeful that the Anglesey Energy Island concept can at last be brought to fruition with this diverse range of new energy sources, and so make a significant contribution to transforming the island economy and so the lives of local people.


Categories: Economy

Tags: anglesey, anglesey energy island, horizon nuclear power

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David Phillips, Anglesey Today
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