The Isle of Wight Council has received a double boost in its efforts to support the green economy.
The council has secured nearly £700,000 of European money to help finance the necessary preparatory works for its Solent Offshore Energy Centre (SOEC) proposals to create tidal energy testing facilities off the Island’s southern tip at St Catherine’s Point.
It has also secured a further £1.1 million towards the establishment of private sector-led consortium (Solent Offshore Renewable Energy Consortium – SOREC) to support businesses across the south east wishing to take advantage of the growing number of opportunities in the offshore renewables sector.
News of both positive developments will be reported to council members Cllr George Brown, cabinet member for the economy, at the Full Council meeting on tomorrow.
SOEC is one of the council’s major Eco Island projects that fulfils its aim of using the green agenda to stimulate the local economy and boost employment prospects.
The SOEC testing / demonstration facility to develop tidal energy technology will produce 20MW of energy but could lead to the creation of a full scale tidal energy production centre also off St Catherine’s capable of generating 200-250 MW of green power (enough to power 136,000 homes).
Between them, the two projects will create and safeguard many hundreds of jobs across the Solent region – a significant number of which would be on the Island.
Cllr David Pugh, IW Council Leader, said: “There is still a lot of work to be done to bring our SOEC scheme to fruition, but these two announcements each represent significant steps in the right direction.
“The council’s commitment to this project is clear so it is heartening that the EU appreciate the opportunities that SOEC and offshore renewables (SOREC) offer to the green economy.
"This is in addition to the private sector which has also made a firm and substantial contribution to the development of SOEC.”
A decision on the IW Council’s bid for £1m of Regional Growth Funding (RGF) for the project, which was shortlisted by the Government in the summer, will be known before the end of October.