Anglesey Energy Island Jobs Potential
by David Phillips
The Anglesey Energy Island Programme promises to attract potentially thousands of new, high quality energy-related jobs to the North West Wales economy over the next two decades.
As Welsh Assembly Government First Minister Carwyn Jones AM visits Anglesey today formally to launch the Energy Island programme, there is a clear momentum buidling up to draw investment into the area.
The new Group will be co-ordinated by the Ecomnomic Development Unit at Anglesey County Council, and will drive the various energy projects and initiatives and help transform the island economy and boost skilled job opportunities.
Local politicians see the Anglesey Energy Island idea as a magnet to attract companies who will develop the latest renewable energy technologies so that they can use the island as a base for designing and manufacturing the leading edge technologies of tomorrow.
Head of the Economic Development Unit at Anglesey County Council, Sasha Davies, said that a recent study showed that around £2.5 billion could be pumped in to the North West Wales economy over the next 15 years or so under the right conditions.
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 for Wylfa
may be possible for another couple of years to 2012 if approval is given by the UK government.
Meanwhile, a prospective new nuclear power plant, 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 currently still in talks with two international companies, Westinghouse from the USA and French firm Areva, who are in the process of securing licences for their reactor designs in Britain.
This project has the potential to bring around $14 billion into the Anglesey economy and generate around 5,000 jobs during construction and up to 2,500 jobs thereafter, including in the supply chain, and could last for the best part of 90 years over the life cycle of the plant.
The huge potential of wind energy is another key part of the Anglesey Energy Island Programme, 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.
The island is ideally positioned to act as a centre for
manufacturing and maintaining the wind energy infrastructure
including the towers and blades, given its excellent port facilities at Holyhead.
There is an excellent 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 top quality facilities available to train local people.
A massive 750 MW offshore wind farm development is already being constructed at Gwynt-y-Mor
, about 12-15 miles east of the Anglesey coast, where around 250 wind turbines will be installed. This project received the green light 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.
Looking to the future, local stakeholders are hopeful that the Anglesey Energy Island concept can at last bear fruit with this exciting and broad energy portfolio, and so make a significant contribution to transforming the island economy and improve the lives of local people.
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