Many thought the Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (<- follow link to see background) project was dead in the water after the 2017 change in Government policy, which led tidal energy companies saying they could not compete with offshore wind bids.
However, three years later the project – which has been in hibernation – has re-emerged and with it, the ‘call in’ procedure on another loan investment being dis-applied, council papers say, “due to the need for urgency in decision-making at Isle of Wight council”.
£1m already invested
Following a cabinet decision in 2013, the IWC has invested over £1m in the project to convert tidal stream energy to electricity, “sufficient to provide carbon free power to a quarter of Island homes, and at the same time produce significant economic benefits for the Isle of Wight”. They have a 15 per cent shareholder stake in PTEC Ltd.
Planning permission and marine licences and leases were all in place, but have now expired.
Invest a further £244,000
Certain members of the Isle of Wight council are now being asked to make a decision on a further loan investment to the project.
They have had an offer of financial support from the European Union Tiger project to assist renewing the licences and leases, but would need to make another loan investment of further £244,000.
The report explains:
In order to secure the first phase of funding from the Tiger project PTEC has approached the council for a further loan of £244,000; this will lever in £366,000 in EU funding to secure the leases and licences for the future and enable a further phase of work, also attracting Tiger funds, to secure financial close on the scheme.
In order to secure the EU funds and effectively keep the project alive, PTEC is required to confirm its match funding is secured and in place by the end of March.
It is the intention to reinstate the project consents by the end of 2020, to reach financial close by the end of 2021 and to begin construction in 2022.
Scrutiny of the decision
Cllr Andrew Garratt (LibDem), Chair of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee, has been consulted and has recommended the decision be considered at an urgent meeting of the Neighbourhoods and Regeneration policy and scrutiny committee, so it can be properly scrutinised.
The Chair of the Neighbourhoods and Regeneration Policy Scrutiny committee, Cllr Michael Beston (Con), has for dis-application of ‘call in’ and will instruct committee officers to include review of the decision as part of the committee’s “forward work programme at the earliest opportunity”.
Protecting the £1m investment
The council papers say:
The further council investment of £244,000 is intended to protect the council’s initial investment of £1m and increase PTEC’s value by enabling the project to develop towards financial close and implementation.
Positive impact on IW’s carbon emissions
Although the project would not impact the council’s own carbon management plan, once operational, “PTEC will have a significant positive impact on the Island’s carbon emissions by providing clean electricity equivalent to the consumption of some 15,700 households.
This will result in carbon dioxide savings of 9,000 tCO2 per annum”.
The proposal is only being discussed by Cllr Dave Stewart (Leader), Cllr Stuart Hutchinson (Deputy Leader), Cllr Wayne Whittle (Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Business Development) and representatives of PTEC.
The recommendation is to make a further loan investment of £244,000 in PTEC subject to the conditions set out in appendix 1.
Full details can be found in the council report below. Click on the full screen icon to see larger version.