Wind turbines could raise third of island electricity

STUDIES indicate that it is viable to install 10 wind turbines off Guernsey’s north coast to produce 30% of the island’s electricity needs.

Jeremy Thompson

STUDIES indicate that it is viable to install 10 wind turbines off Guernsey’s north coast to produce 30% of the island’s electricity needs.

Using information from various university investigations, the Renewable Energy Team has confirmed that offshore wind, tidal and wave power are all feasible resources for Guernsey.

But with development of tidal power being slower than first expected, and wave technology still in its infancy, it is an offshore wind project capable of generating an estimated 30 megawatts that could be the first to be explored further.

The team, which was set up by Commerce and Employment, has also now begun making moves to look at how macro [large scale] solar power could form a greater part of the island’s future energy mix.

‘We think there is a logical sequence for energy development. In the near term, a new cable. We are totally supportive of Guernsey Electricity’s moves to research a second cable given the recent experiences,’ said RET chairman Jeremy Thompson, pictured.

Comments for: "Wind turbines could raise third of island electricity"


Bring them on. For starters a welcome addition aesthetically to our barren and featureless northern seascape. Cue the Mail and Telegraph reading anti turbine loons.


...And cue the NIMBY rants about how ineffective wind power is...

States, don't listen, just get on with it and get some green energy for future generations!


Before we build wind turbines for the future generations, what about housing for them to live in?

first things first


Is it better to at least have some sort of existence than to have an existence with abundant amenities. Only once the long-term goals have been considered should comforts be a concern.


markB, I doubt a wind farm would be publically owned, as they are generally run by private companies. Therefore, all the States would have to do is grant it consent and the States could still prioritise providing housing.

Both at once!


Simple Mark, rent the accommodation from Lagans once airport finished!!

If SOG pulled their thumbs out it could have permission sooner rather than next election

Oh, and sort out a loan to do it too


Wind turbines = lame duck. Forget about these things once and for all and move on.


What would you suggest then?

At present, wind turbines appear the most appropriate, viable solution to our electricity needs. Tidal and wave are simply not developed enough to present a realistic option.

Turbines would also begin to pave the way to a more secure energy budget, primarily because we won't have to rely on French power to such an extent.


Are people morally blind ? Who cares about the pecuniary aspects of this venture- doesn't anybody consider the welfare of their children and that their attitude is fundamentally why a major climate 'tipping point' may be precipitated ?

On the other hand, you may be an advocate of other types of renewable energy, if that's the case then I apologise.


I am referring to 'Concerned', by the way.

However, I applaud your reasoning, 'Turbinator'.


I do indeed see the need for alternative/renewable/green energy. I just think wind farms are a dead duck. I thought that was quite commonly known. They don't work, they are a waste of energy.

In my opinion wave/tidal energy is the way to go and I disagree with turbinator. We've been using water to create electricity right from the very begining. We have a turbulent waters all around us and it makes sense to use it to our advantage.


In the grand scheme of things, wave/tidal energy is still relatively unproven as an energy source that can support large numbers of people, whereas wind energy can and does in many places.

Take, for example the Ceara project, based in the Ceara state of north-eastern Brazil. This project has the energy to support 320,000 households in Brazil. Obviously we will never be anywhere near this scale, but it is clear that wind energy is not a 'dead duck' and can produce high levels of energy.

In regards to wave/tidal directly, they are simply not developed to a sufficient standard at the present time. In future years, with much development, I could see myself supporting these forms of energy, tidal especially in Guernsey. Currently, they do not form an attractive option to me and thus I believe that wind is the best choice.

The cost of developing a tidal energy plant capable of generating meaningful amounts of energy would be astronomical. Whilst it is impossible to say how expensive, there are examples which are relevant.

In Scotland, the Government approved plans for a 10MW zone of tidal stream generators near Islay. Despite only producing 10MW, they will cost over £40 million. In Guernsey, this money would be far better invested in wind power.


Sorry Turbinator but sea turbines will start to be installed around Alderney this year 10 within three years. The size of the project includes a UK France power cable.


Wind power viable off Guernsey, evidently its viable. But it also depends on price and power generaion mix. Can we hope to see some details in GEP?

Yvonne Burford

The most significant part of the report for me was the recorded mean wind speed of 8m/s quoted. This is a very good resource. (I don't know if it has been adjusted to take into account the hub height of potential turbines however-I will find out).

Yvonne Burford

Have checked with RET at Commerce and Employment and the figure is actually 7.3m/s which is closer to what I would have expected. Still a useful resource, but 24% lower than the initial quoted figure of 8 m/s.


What a load of codswallop.

It is a known fact that windfarms are unviable when comparing their cost and maintenance with the amount of power generated.


Bobby, I suggest you check your facts before posting them as 'facts'. If they are so unviable, how come they exist in such large numbers?

Island Wide Voting


Take a couple of minutes to Google 'wind farm subsidies' and you might discover why they are so popular with the manufacturers


My impression is that interest in wind farms has lost it's appeal in the UK due to the fact that they are proven to be not economically viable.


To summarise, it was announced in 2010 that the biggest project in UK wind farming history was to begin production in 2014. It has the potential to generate 13GW of power and is one of the largest projects anywhere in the world.

This does not look like something that has lost its appeal...

Devil's Advocate

They may not be viable in the UK, but with our higher energy costs they're more likely to be viable here.

Guern 48

The only people to gain from a wind farm are the manufactors and installers,the UK have many that are turned off due to faults and lack of wind,mind you if they were placed outside any States building there would not be a problem as there is plenty of wind comming out of it.


Further to my previous message, and there we go we spend loads of money to so called experts who contradict all the evidence of existing wind farms. All we have to do is take note of the news as regards these farms, not waste cash again and again..

Will we ever learn.


I would wait for marine turbines. By 2016 ten will be in the seas around Alderney. This would produce a more reliable form of power than wind. There will be little if any visual impact if the turbines are at the bottom of the sea.


The hole idea is madness,the costs are massive for what 1-2mw of power each turbine produces,Guernsey uses 70MW plus in the winter. the way to do it would be to have something like France has the barrage on river rance which produces way more than Guernsey needs so we could sell power back to the grid. this could be put in a break water system leading out from St Sampsons reclimation site where there is a good tidal flow.


I'm with Steve. If wind turbines are so good why does the report in the paper state they would be financed by a 'small' increase in electricity price? And that's without the astronomical captal cost to build the damn things. If we that much money sloshing around we would be better investing it in another cable to France or the UK.

Or even a thorium reactor.


bring it on, how about Guernsey Wind Energy Limited, let locals invest in our energy future and offer share holders a discount on their electric Bills. GWE Ltd could sell electricity to Guernsey Electricity at a States approved Tarrif .. Excess could be sold to Jersey ;) ... Via the link cable.

Dave W

If the wind turbines can produce 30% of our needs today, then if the population was eventually reduced to 30% then all the needs of our grandchildern would be provided for.


Interesting, I think e need renewables

The question is how many people are willing to pay more per unit, as it most certainly will cost more.


The wind results are good news but it will be even better when the so called RET set out the sequence of events to follow like how much, where and when. For starters how about a map showing the proposed area of any offshore windfarm, the size of the turbines etc. to be fair perhaps they're working on it or it's hidden in the deepest part of the States user unfriendly website but it could take a mighty long time in these islands. Possibly a massive hike in oil prices might get the project kick started more quickly, let's see.

Anthony T

To start with, 3 MW wind turbines are rather small for offshore applications. Current practice is to move to larger turbines for offshore applications.

I would suggest that returns on investment are likely to be better using 5 MW to 7 MW wind turbines.(5 MW machines are ready now, 7 MW machines are likely to be available before any proposed wind farm can be installed.

Secondly, I would suggest that 10 turbines is a relatively small capacity, and that possibly a joint project with France designed to make full use of the existing connection to the French grid by exporting power might be a better bet. 20 to 25 x 5 MW turbines could on average fully meet or exceed the electricity needs of Guernsey, and may well be attractive to both French and Channel Island investors.

Anthony T

Regarding Solar power, costs have reduced very dramatically in the last two years so that in the UK there are suppliers prepared to install a 4 kW domestic rooftop array for as little at £6,000.

Large scale commercial rooftop P.V arrays such as could be possible on major buildings like the Airport, Hospital, Beau Sejour, the larger schools, and the warehouse type buildings on Admiral park would in the UK cost around £1,000 to £1,100 per installed kW. (I know, I have obtained quotes at this level for clients).

Other possibilities include car port type solar installations at North Beach car park, as well as ground mounted arrays on landfill sites which are no longer in use, but have not yet consolidated sufficiently for general construction.

Guernsey has around 20% more sunshine than most of the UK, so that well oriented solar should exceed 1000 kWh per kW installed. If similar installed costs can be delivered in Guernsey as in the UK, then such commercial arrays would deliver power at around 8p to 11p/kWh allowing for interest charges on the investment, easily undercutting the cost of buying power from Guernsey Electricity.


Interesting Anthony you seem to know your stuff. Presumably Guernsey gets 20% more sunshine than Scotland as opposed to Cornwall. On the face of it, it seems that the States which owns the likes of Beau Sejour and the schools etc. should take the measures to cut the utility bills. However this would reduce the income to Guernsey Electricity which is 100% owned by the States of Guernsey. Politics would get in the way probably but some heads need to get together to sort this out.

guern abroad

Solar interests me as it seems a very direct way to get energy and why are the new states builds not already with them such as the two new schools at the very least.

Yvonne Burford

Agreed, there are many large industrial buildings with south-facing roofs which could support sizeable solar arrays. A large aircraft hangar for example could produce 200MWh per annum. I estimate the costs of producing electricity this way to now be about 12p per kWh including amortising capital costs over the life of the panels. Cheaper than you can buy the electricity from the grid but dearer than the price they will buy it from you at the moment. Viable if you have an immediate use for it (like the airport probably does!)


What about another 30% from solar power? Put solar panels on all the disused greenhouses around the island and link them to the grid. Surely better than having them left to rot and certainly cheaper than an offshore windfarm.


First remove the monopoly situation with Guernsey Electricity and allow open investment companies to pump their millions into new ventures.


Is there a precedent for that in such a small economy as Guernsey? It would be quite a radical move..


It is! But think of Guernsey as being a huge power station transmitting power to Europe. There is technology far in advance of wind, wave or turbine, which would suit Guernsey being surrounded by sea. Look up Tesla Coil on the net. This technology is beyond the States Electricity board in it’s present form. Unfortunately so long as there are laws in place in Guernsey, preventing investment in alternative energy production, selling and keeping the monopoly situation in place, there can be no going forward.


I thought there was a Monopoly regulator now in the island called Cicra, isn't that precisely their job to deal with issues like this?


Law cannot be decided by Cicra.

The law can only be revoked by the full meeting of the States deputies.


So what you're saying Peter is if a home owner or land owner wants to fit a load of solar panels and generate renewable electricity on the island, there is no mechanism to sell the excess back to Guernsey electricity, the law forbids it? Sounds daft to me


You have to offer it back to the board if they will accept it, which is set at a very low tariff. You cannot by law sell it direct to your neighbour for a realistic price or any one else.


Okay that's probably understandable. I was just checking if the excess can be sold back to GE but I wonder why they should refuse to accept it at such a low tariff. Power is power whether it comes from the cable via France or through the excess of someone's solar or windturbines. Not that I have possibility of doing it but important to know the process of how and what islanders can do.


If you built a Teslar coil in your garden and connected the surplice from your solar panels to it, you could in theory run your immersion heater from them. Think of the saving from the electricity board. Unfortunately the establishment would come down heavily on you because of the monopoly situation at present.


NO NO No, are you totaly mad, over my dead body with any wind power be installed in and around this beautiful island (my island) of Guernsey!

I know we need renewable energy and I am not against that but these wind turbinds are a blot on the land/seascape NOT HERE the thought of this stupid idea makes me so angry!

I will give you the best renewable source!

Sea/tidel power it is 100% guaranteed the tide will come up and 6 hours later will be down like clock work! and it's under the sea where it can't be seen, further more it would/could produce so much power it could be sold back to the French.

You could in fact in time to come have free power,now that makes more sense!

Brian Shepherd

If wind turbines are so good how come they are costing UK goverments ie Englaish Scots and Welsh hundreds of thousands of pounds to the generating companies to keep them switched off. They are costing UK tax payers much more than they ever make to keep them out of action. The other thing about them unless you own the generating company they never ever payback what it costs to create them trhe site for them to operate upon and their maintainence for the supposed 25 year life span. Leave wind generation to politicians surely we have to develope tidal power generation

Island Wide voting

"STUDIES indicate that it is viable to install 10 wind turbines off Guernsey’s north coast to produce 30% of the island’s electricity needs."

Further studies carried out by year three students at the Vale Primary indicate that it is also viable to build a road bridge to France which would open up the tourism floodgates to many millions of potential visitors from the Continent.An added bonus would be that an electric cable could be attached to the bridge to avoid the problems of underwater cables and thus guarantee the supply of 100% of the island's electricity needs

The primary school is not in a position at present to publish figures relating to the likely cost of such a bridge

It is further believed that St Martins primary is working on a viable method of towing and anchoring Alderney off our West Coast to form a protective barrier from the increasing incidence of westerly gales

Again the likely cost of this project is not available for publication but a spokesman says indications are that it can be done if the money is made available


Meanwhile Torteval Pre School are working on a scheme to bottle cow farts in order to power a gas turbine to generate electricity for that parish and to also sell back to the main grid for the rest of the island who seem to have all gone completely mad.


Wind turbines generate electricity when the wind blows - but need power station back-up for when it doesn't blow, or blow enough, or blows too hard. And they are only cost-effective in the UK due to the huge subsidies that the taxpayer is paying for. Nor do they last as long as claimed.

On the other hand the sea can generate a constant supply, and tidal power will be proven off Alderny in the near future. Guernsey is a an island surrounded by powerful seas - surely it is the obvious way to go. And concentrate on one solution, and not dilute effort on chasing rainbows, or pie in the sky.


Is anyone considering combined wind/marine current turbines? To put up a wind turbine you have to put the turbine on a pole in the sea with suitable foundations. Attach a marine current turbine to the pole - best of both worlds!


I was going to suggest exactly the same thing! If we put in wind turbines, put them in an area where there is decent tidal movement so tidal generators could be attached/incorporated in the same place.

I would personally be against the wind power as I think they would be hugely expensive and not necessarily produce enough power for the capital invested.

Tidal power is the most attractive option in terms of all year round use but then they are as yet unproven. It would be nice to have the capital to take a punt on it but that's not the case. By the time they are proven to work then there may be another energy producer out there that could be better and just around the corner. so we'll never sort it out!

The solar power options someone described above seem a good idea though, on buildings like beau sejour, specsavers, airport etc.

Or could we just let more developed nations like france develop better/cheaper power and then just take advantage of cheaper power through the cable link?

Prince Charles

With a grandchild on the way, it's important we consider alternative options.

One doesn't want future generations burdened with a bad environment as a result of our poor choices re energy.




TIDAL POWER....that is all ;0)


Well we get a lot of wind here, why should it not work? And how about a way of producing electricity by rainfall? We get lots of that as well.

guern abroad

Too much wind and they can't work.

Most finicky of green energy and show me one wind farm that is not running on subsidies.

Solar would give immediate energy today in Guernsey, tidal longer term power.


Why not put a wind turbine outside the States Chambers a lot of hot air comes out of there!!


As the Stern Review righty states, if we do not pay the price now (pecuniary) then we will encounter a profoundly burdensome expense (ecological) during the forthcoming decades and centuries. Surely members of the human race, the most sophisticated product of the Earth's evolutionary line, have the ability to overlook their narrow self-interest, be more altruistic and do more to avert future calamities (anthropogenic disasters that is). Those uninformed bigots ought to align both their lifestyle and world view with that of a changing environment- hopefully that will enable them to achieve some sort of spiritual enlightenment.


Heard it all before Ed. boooooring


Incredibly useful though


In a spiritual sense, the fact that the human race continue to carry out lucrative industrial ventures with little concern for the supreme value of the environment means that, if we encounter a dire fate as a result of chronic climate change, we will be merely met with poetic justice.


Personally i was and still am interested in alternative energies. We went down the route a couple of years ago of getting quotes for our modest dwelling.

There was / is a complete lack of independent local advice. GEL seemed not to be interested and even when pressed further they advised us to speak to one of their partners, a plumber suppliers who could only provide a leaflet. And that would mean ditching our new gas boiler and fitting a rather large combination model.

GEL did suggest an air model where you extract heat from the air around it and then use that to help heat the property. However that would have meant installation of a new 3 phase cable at great disruption to neighbours and ourselves to replace what we all have at present.

GEL did offer to prove some foil behind each radiator on the property if we did order from them. Sad really and not what i expected.

I can see logic though as i felt then and still feel that if their sales of electricity units drop because of people doing down this route then they would have to put up the unit cost. That's what i feel. They are playing at it instead of throwing themselves completely into it.

Quotes from heating suppliers for solar and PV came back with outrageous figures at least twice UK cost of 12 -14 K pounds and that would only provide 50% of our energy needs. Getting closer to 80% would mean us spending 14-18K pounds. Still not good enough so the idea was dropped.

The island needed a strategy for energy yesterday, so today, to safe guard ourselves we desperately need to implement energy policy TODAY. I like the idea of a wind farm north of the island. I can imagine sight seeing boat trips to them in the summer. New enterprises.


I think you've hit a good point here.

First of all, we need to make sure we are as effecient with energy as possible, so improve insulation, use lower energy bulbs, not leave the telly on all day just because you can etc. etc.

Alternative forms of heating are also worth investigating like air or ground source heat pumps. These operate on a principle similar to a fridge and can move (being fairly conservative) around 4 times as much energy as they cost to run (i.e. for 1kwh of electricity you can get heating of approx 4kwh).

Cut down the demand, then the energy generation solution can be modified accordingly.

As to solar power, I'm not a fan - photovoltaic cells use a lot of very unpleasant substances as well as a lot of energy in their manufacture. Keep it simple, a big magnifying glass boiling some water to drive a turbine is how solar should be done!


will need planning permission from Environment committee where to place them.They must blend in with the horizon and not interfere with penguin breeding rocks,shipping lanes and Alderney`s views

Tokyo News

So would solar power....

or a nuclar plant....

shut up old man