Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight tidal energy demonstration site plans unveiled

Plans to create a tidal demonstration centre on the seabed off the Isle of Wight have been unveiled.

The proposed Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC) will allow prototype energy turbines to be installed off St Catherine's Point.

Fishermen and business owners in Ventnor oppose the centre and claim it will damage shellfish beds.

PTEC said it was carrying out a consultation with the fishing industry and an environmental impact assessment.

Mark Francis, project manager for PTEC, said the aim was to make "clean renewable energy for the Isle of Wight and support the development of the tidal sector by facilitating the commercialisation of tidal technologies".

He added that the project "will pave the way for future tidal stream electricity generation".

'Prime fishing ground'

The centre would lie about 1.5 miles (2.5km) off St Catherine's Point and would produce between 20MW and 30MW of marine renewable energy for the Isle of Wight grid, enough to power between 10,000 and 15,000 homes.

Meg Mortimer, who owns The Met restaurant on Ventnor's Esplanade, said it was "incredibly unfortunate that it encompasses the prime fishing ground off the south coast of the Isle of Wight".

"To take it away will make that industry virtually unviable."

He added the centre's claims that it would "attract significant investment into the local economy" and "opportunities for local businesses" had yet to be proved.

"The few maintenance jobs available once the site is complete… may be at the sacrifice of many jobs in the shipping industry."

A public exhibition explaining the scheme has gone on show at The Spyglass Inn, Ventnor.

Image caption Prototype energy turbines could be installed off St Catherine's Point

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites