Three sitting members ousted by Alderney in FAB link protest vote

CAMPAIGNERS against the installation of a France to Alderney electricity cable swept to victory at the island’s election this weekend.

Four of the five successful candidates in the Alderney election. Left to right, Alex Snowdon, Mike Dean, Tony Barnes and Louis Jean. (Picture by Emma Pinch, 16777485)
Four of the five successful candidates in the Alderney election. Left to right, Alex Snowdon, Mike Dean, Tony Barnes and Louis Jean. (Picture by Emma Pinch, 16777485)

Alex Snowdon, who at 28 was the youngest candidate in recent years, gained a place in the 10-seat States, as did anti-FAB running mate Mike Dean.

Property owner Mr Snowdon said: ‘One of the main reasons that I stood for election was because I have strong concerns about the proposed FAB [France-Alderney-Britain] link. I do not believe that Alderney has had enough information about it. I believe that we need to see the master plan before we sign up to the deal.’ Mr Snowdon gained 480 votes out of a total 943 votes cast.

Other candidates whose platforms centred on the island’s other pressing problems also gained favour with voters.

Issues of the day in Alderney also boosted the campaign of other candidates.

Topping the polls was James Dent, with 624 votes, whose credentials as an international air transport consultant appealed to many, despite a hitherto low profile in the island. Mr Dent is a member of the States of Guernsey panel currently reviewing the role of Aurigny.

The election saw only one of the four serving members voted back in.

Louis Jean, who represents Alderney in the States of Guernsey, scooped the second most votes with 527, but Neil Harvey, Francis Simonet and Chris Rowley failed to get back in.

Comments for: "Three sitting members ousted by Alderney in FAB link protest vote"

AlderneyBusinessChap

Young Mr Snowden clearly doesn't understand the concepts inherent in a legal agreement between two contracting parties; I think you will find that the States of Alderney has already 'signed up to the deal' - so good luck in persuading the French Government-backed FABLink that a renegotiation is required.

Fabio

lets just hope that these single agenda states members have the capacity to deal with all the other issues facing Alderney. Worrying times ahead.

DM

Maybe Mr Snowdon and Mr Dean should also be your representatives on the States of Guernsey? They'll certainly earn their money and be kept busy fighting to reject FAB and possibly substantial tidal energy revenues for the public coffers on the one hand whilst also persuading Guernsey to continue supporting Alderney financially ad infinitum.

Pass the popcorn.

Woodman

It's a little unfair to label Messrs Snowden and Dean as "Anti-Fab". I've spoken to both of them before the election and although they are sceptical of whether the best deal has been achieved and whether the benefits of FAB outweigh the downsides, neither of them came across as outright antis or one-issue candidates. Of course anyone who campaigns on a FAB-sceptic ticket is going to pick up the hardline anti vote, but they have gained votes from others, myself included, who are not convinced that the deal is good enough and that the current States are in indecent haste to approve FAB. Let's give them a chance. I doubt they can do a much worse job than certain of the outgoing members.

Douglas White

So all the "Say No to FAB", "FAB OFF" and "Breaking Alderney Forever" stickers and posters on their properties and vehicles really mean "I'm a little sceptical of FAB but maintain an open mind"?

I wonder how I could have got confused?

Woodman

Doug,

I know you are quite a strong supporter of FAB, I've seen your Facebook posts, so I think it's fair for me to say that.

Yes, I've also seen the FAB off posters on the old Town House and Casa Fina too. Other members of that family have interests in those properties too, so who knows who put them up?

I prefer to hear it from the horse's mouth and took the trouble to question both these men and other candidates at length. Were they lying to me? Who knows? However it's not the impression I got.

Time will tell.

Douglas White

I'm a supporter of what tidal could do for our island's economy and resilience in what may become a rather troubled world.

This comes with some downside too but nothing is free in life. We might not want it but we maybe need it.

AlderneyBusinessChap

Spot on as usual Doug - the reality of the situation will eventually hit home and the people of Alderney will see how utterly misled they have been by these very misguided individuals. But I do agree with No.1 Native that this is democracy in action - heaven help us!!

Woodman

Andrew Business Chap,

Who's misleading who? There has been huge lack of transparency surrounding both FAB and ARE. We are spoon-fed selected snippets by the companies involved and by the States. We have seen the allegedly independant regulator, ACRE making loans to the company they are supposed to regulate. None of this inspires confidence that due diligence and thorough negotiations have been done by the States.

Many people, including me, want to see the day when Alderney's tidal resources are harnessed. They realise that there will be some negative impacts too. What mustn't happen is for ALL the benefit to accrue to the developer and ALL the negatives fall on Alderney. The deal has to be transparent. It has to satisfy the populatation that they are being adequately compensated for any negative impacts and it must bring sufficient income to make a significant difference to public finances.

Douglas White

Whilst transparency hasn't exactly been the watchword of the ARE side that does not excuse the placement of misleading and inaccurate information by the 'no' side.

It's a clever and effective political tactic effectively deployed but does not, ultimately, enhance the debate.

FAB/ARE will have to back up all their statements as the project progresses. They are in the spotlight. No one takes ownership of much of the information from the other side. Remember when they began their campaign behind a wall of anonymity, posting on social media behind a pseudonym? I believe at least one of our new States members was behind that. Transparency has to work from both sides so let's hope the debate improves now that two of them hold public office and have a responsibility to us all that they didn't have previously.

islandgirl

I am really surprised that you didn't stand as a candidate for Alderney States. Your views could have been taken notice of at every meeting instead of on this GP site.

Douglas White

13 candidates was quite enough don't you think? At least I'm happy to append my name to my comments so you know who you are talking to and disagreeing with. We do like a good debate in Alderney.

Woodman

Doug,

We only have your word for it that you are the real Doug White. You could be a glove puppet for almost anyone. Yes, Alderney loves a good debate but it's what is said, not who says it, that matters.

Fabio

Shame you didn't stand Doug, we need more sensible intelligent States members

islandgirl

Woodman, I have also spoken to Alex and Mike and they are not anti fab but as it says lower down this page they want more information as most people do! The consultation day at the Island Hall was not informative. Perhaps more information such as models of the convertor station was going to affect the Quarry area would have been a good idea. I don't ever remember it being published that the agreement was going to be signed last November and I keep my eyes and ears open for all that sort of information.

no1native

The people of Alderney have spoken loud and clear.

This is known as democracy,

Power to the people.

Douglas White

Until it all goes horribly wrong then they just blame someone else...

Woodman

Oh Doug,

Don't be such a wet blanket. Let Citizen Nige have his moment of triumphant jubilation.

Douglas White

Should we buy him a bugle?

no1native

Thought I be hearing from you guys!

No need for a bugle as my jungle drums beat loud and clear thank you.

This old native is truly revolting!

Fabio

@Woodman. Have you seen this pairs' properties and vehicles plastered in anti-fab propaganda? They have been the major players in the irresponsible 'anti' campaign based on propaganda, misinformation and scare mongering. Perhaps you haven't noticed this, or seen any of the outrageous emails and social media they have circulated? As DM says above, let's hope they manage to persuade Guernsey to keep subsidising us if / when they kick tidal power out for the foreseeable future, along with any prospects of Alderney ever becoming self-sufficient.

Woodman

@Fabio,

My reply to Doug above refers.

As for perrenial anti-Alderney troll DM's post, I don't think 70-odd grand p.a. ground rent will make much of a dent in the deficit.

AlderneyBusinessChap

You are quite right Woodman, it won't - but the £12million per annum income stream from the tidal project to the States of Alderney will - but no FAB-no tidal project. Go figure!

Woodman

No need to go figure.

FAB was not on the table when ARE first bid for the right to develop tidal power in Alderney waters. If I recall correctly their original plan was to build their transfer station in France. Then came the idea of building a platform on the edge of Alderney waters. Finally, the much cheaper option of building it on land in Alderney, hence FAB. Brilliant business sense to get Britain and France to pay for much of the infrastructure because that means more millions much earlier for ARE's shareholders.

If FAB is not built, there is nothing to stop ARE reverting to one of their previous plans or even selling their rights to the Alderney seabed to whoever develops the equally rich tidal resource the other side of the Race. Whoever that may be will also need a transfer station, presumably in France. Or is that yet another cunning plan by FAB, to have the French converters in Alderney too?

Answers are needed, along with a better deal.

DM

I'm sorry you feel my comments are 'anti-Alderney' - I like your island and have visited often over the years.

All I try to point out is the changing mood music here in Guernsey with regards to the funding of Alderney. Our economy is faltering and this make the money that flows to Alderney more noticed and in many cases resented. I hear more moaning now than I did half a dozen years ago.

Looks like you have an opportunity to fend better for yourselves if you embrace the FAB and the tidal power project. It's tricky for us to fully understand why so much of Alderney is against it though I'm told that your holiday home owners are funding a campaign against it. I assume the American chap who sends letters to the Press is one.

My caution is simply this - don't assume Guernsey will be willing or more importantly, able, to fund you indefinitely if you turn away money that you could earn for yourselves. Services are already being cut here so yours will too.

I hope you don't think that anti-Alderney, it's not supposed to be. We could end up quite jealous of your success and that would make me smile. It'll give them something different to grumble into their pints about.

Douglas White

Good point. I don't like living in the gift of others, there is no security living in debt.

Woodman

DM

Apologies if I've misunderstood your intent but it seems to be a recurring negative theme in your posts.

It is difficult to judge with any certainty how many in Alderney are vehemently against, passionately for, or in any of the myriad shades of doubt about FAB, but from conversations I've had I would guess the majority are somewhere in the middle, wanting tidal power to be a success but needing a lot more assurances that the whole project of which FAB forms part is going to be of huge benefit to the community as a whole.

TAFF

I agree with Woodman. This should be seen as one big project, instead of bits and pieces. Overall there should be considerable benefit to Alderney, but some of the "bits" are less palatable.

For example how certain is the gain from tidal power? The power is there but is the equipment capable of handling it? Not from the last I saw. So rumour and counter rumour. Perhaps the new Alderney states will rise to the challenge and organise a business case which covers all the possibilities. Then informed judgements can be made. But don't hold your breath.

Devil's Advocate

I don't think the deal is that good. It's a 1.4Gigawatt system that I'm sure will be shifting power from one side of the channel to the other 24/7/365. If they only charge 1p per KwH shifted that's going to result in a revenue of £122.6Million a year. For Alderney's share of this to be a flat £70k p.a. that's abysmal, there needs to be some revenue share so Alderney benefits when FAB do.

Devil's Advocate

The chances of the tidal project bearing fruit seems slim at present, so to base all Alderney's hopes on revenue from that is foolish - I can foresee the northern end of the island being ruined for income of £70k and FABlink riding off into the sunset on golden horses. The island MUST get a better deal on FAB because that will happen regardless - the UK needs 'eco' power from France to meet its emissions targets.

islandgirl

Not only does it seem a slim hope it is also going to take time. Some of the people commenting on here seem to think that the project is going to come to fruition almost immediately. If they think that they are sadly misinformed. 70k is a drop in the ocean as far as residents here are concerned. As you say Devils advocate the other end of the island is going to be ruined and Alderney must get a better deal not the paltry sum of 70k. .

Fabio

You're missing the point. The FAB link does not need to come through Alderney (contrary to various conspiracy theories doing the rounds) to enable the power to be shifted, as you say. The sole purpose of it landing on Alderney is to enable export of tidal power. The benefit to Alderney will be revenues from that tidal power (up to £10million a year we are told), access to the fibre optics which are to be included in the cable, and the opportunity to import cheap power from France for our use. Is that not enough?

Woodman

Fabio,

I think it is you who may be missing the point.

Tidal energy can be landed and converted in France, or on maritime platforms. Both of these solutions were put forward in ARE's earlier plans. Yes, they would be more expensive but both of these remain possibilities if FAB is not routed through Alderney. FAB, however, would save ARE many millions. In return, Alderney gets a paltry 70k p.a. That is not a good enough deal. There are no real details on how much access there will be to a fibre optic cable or at what cost. Cheap French electricity isn't going to happen. The States foolishly signed up to a "Power Purchase Agreement" that ties AEL to buying electricity from ARE at a set rate for 25 years once they begin producing electricity.

It is not necessary to have FAB for export of tidal energy to take place. All, or most of the viable seabed blocks lie within the Race, or Le Raz Blanchard to the French. Not surprisingly, there is an equally good resource on the French side of the Race, which I'm pretty sure, IF large-scale tidal power becomes viable and profitable, will be exploited by France. Someone, whether it be ARE or a French developer, will need to build a converter station SOMEWHERE, preferably in France. The revenues from tidal power will still come in but without the planning blight that some fear.

Fabio

Power Purchase Agreement? I cannot see how AEL is bound to buy power from ARE, when ARE will be exporting their power to U.K. and France. Do you have evidence of this?

AT the end of the day, it's up to the States to decide whether it's a good deal or not, having access to all the facts (not conspiracies). Past States have always supported the projects, so let's see what happens when the new ones get stuck into it.

Woodman

Fabio,

Here is an excerpt from the Policy & Finance committee minutes referring to the Power Purchase Agreement.

Policy and Finance Committee Meeting 27th March 2012

20.1.3 Confidential Item Proposal from the Chairman dated 21stMarch 2012 and

proposal from Mr Arditti dated 22nd March 2012 tabled and discussed.

RESOLVED to agree to approve the following:

-

1.

By a majority (Mr Beaman, Mr Kelly, Mr Sargent and Mr Walden against) to support the Power Purchase Agreement in the form attached to the note dated 20th February 2012 to the Committee from the Board of Alderney Electricity

Limited; and

2.

By a majority (Mr Sargent abstained) that the Chief Executive considers with the Law Officers how to appropriately mandate the voting of the States of Alderney shares following this decision.

Chief Executive to deal.

Amazing what you can find using Google.

Fabio

Yes, it is ......

Policy and Finance Committee Meeting 28th January 2014

08/2014 Alderney Renewable Energy Confidential letter to Mr M Richards, Alderney Electricity Limited dated 20.11.2013 from Mr N Horler CEO, Alderney Renewable Energy Limited tabled and considered.

It was noted that ARE had concluded that the 4MW project was no longer commercially viable and that Alderney Electricity Limited were requested to give written consent to terminate the Power Purchase Agreement dated 26th June 201, pursuant to clauses 18.4 and 18.4.1 of the agreement. Noted

Douglas White

There was a Power Purchase Agreement put in place some time ago. However, in recent articles Decaln has suggested that AEL be allowed to take power from the cable, once a convertor is in place, at European wholesale prices. The last info I can find is that these are running at around 35€ a megawatt or 3p a unit.

I doubt the island and AEL would be held to the agreement. Things seem to have moved on from then.

As Islandgirl points out, tidal may be some time away, so in the short term all we'll have is a cable, buried underground and Devils Advocate is right that we should be looking for more than the £70k on offer but with a 3p wholesale price I suspect a penny a unit is a non starter but even at £0.0005 a unit it's £600,000 a year. Would we be happy with that?

Woodman

Here's an interesting thing that I found while surfing the web for tidal energy information. It's an interview with Brendan Corr, the Cheif Commercial Officer of Open Hydro, the company that owns most of ARE and whose turbines we are told by ARE will be deployed in Alderney waters. No mention of Alderney but he has this to say about tidal power in the Raz Blanchard:

"We are developing a purpose-built tidal turbine assembly facility at Cherbourg Port. The 5,500m2 purpose-built facility, will act as an industrial hub for the delivery of the Normandie Hydro project for EDF Energies Nouvelles – a 14MW array set to be deployed in 2018. This project will see the installation of an array of seven tidal turbines in the Raz Blanchard, supplying electricity to 13,000 local residents. Work is ongoing with the Ports of Normandy Authority (PNA) and the French government agency, SHEMA, to finalise plans for the ambitious project.

The tidal turbine sector is expected to create hundreds of jobs in Cherbourg once OpenHydro begins the commercial scale production of tidal arrays from 2020. The facility will initially have a production capacity of 25 turbines annually, with planned expansion work on the factory expected to increase production by up to 50 turbines per year. This purpose built facility will act as the industrial hub for the delivery of the Normandie Hydro project and will position us for large scale development in the French market. This is an essential step on the path to commercialisation and will ensure OpenHydro is well placed to address the world-wide €200 billion tidal energy market."

So, the French will deploy turbines in 2018, way ahead of Alderney. Where will this electricity be landed? In France, according to Mr Corr. If this is the case, why are ARE/Open Hydro not negotiating for connection at the same site? Simple, because FAB and an interconnector on Alderney is much cheaper. They will save multi-millions while Alderney gets a piddling 70k a year. If we are to be lumbered with FAB the benefit to Alderney must be much greater than 70k p.a.

Fabio

Looking at Open Hydro's website, you will see that the French scheme you refer to above is a demonstration array in French territorial waters by EDF. Nothing to do with ARE. So not sure how you think ARE could negotiate for connection with them? More googling needed Woodman .....

Woodman

I think you'll find that the demonstration plant you refer to is situated near Paimpol, Brittany and comprises two smallish turbines. The Raz Blanchard array is much larger at 7 turbines and is right next door to Alderney's territorial waters. It will supply 13,000 residents in nearby France and those who believe there is a commercial future for tidal energy in "local" waters must naturally assume that this array will be extended, along with its associated landing and conditioning facility.

I never said it was anything to do with ARE.

As owners of ARE and participants in the Normandie scheme, why wouldn't Open Hydro want to negotiate for some synergies in infrastucture? Simple. They are being offered a cheaper, too cheap, option by the States of Alderney.

Fabio

"OpenHydro is working with the renewable energy division of EDF, EDF Energies Nouvelles, to develop a demonstration array in the Raz Blanchard, off the coast of Normandy. This is a 14MW project, will see the installation of an array of seven tidal turbines in 2018. The turbines will have a unit power output of 2MW and will supply electricity to 13,000 local residents. OpenHydro’s Standard Product design will be used on the Normandie Hydro project."

The above is taken from openhydro website.

Open Hydro are not 'owners' of ARE, rather they are shareholders of that company. And things just don't work the way you seem to have convinced yourself they do.

I have heard so many theories about FAB and ARE from people who seem to be obsessed that there is more to it than meets the eye. To me, FAB is a no-brainer:-

With FAB - Royalties from tidal in the foreseeable future, fibre optic and European priced electric.

Without FAB - Royalties from tidal in maybe 20 to 30 years time, no fibre optic and no European priced electric.

Woodman

Well Fabio,

We shall see whether your rose-tinted view comes to fruition. I suspect you are in for a big disappointment when your super-fast internet and cheap electricity fail to materialise. Both might be hinted at by ARE/FAB but nothing concrete. ARE have a long record of changing their proposals and promises so it's a "no-brainer" that these will change too.

What makes you believe there will be royalties from tidal in the near future? There is no given start date for installation in Alderney waters and I suspect that DCNS/Open Hydro will have much bigger fish to fry before Alderney.

Accepting that the Normandie Hydro project is a demo, it will still form part of a larger array in the future and it seems unimaginable that some degree of future-proofing will not be built into the supporting infrastructure to facilitate that expansion. Or will it? Maybe the French are hoping to plug into FAB and build their converters here too?

DM

So much negativity?

They've been a bit slippery in the past? Get your new politicians to tie them down. Make it happen instead of all this speculation as to why it won't. Think positive. If they've offered a pound tell them it needs to be two and settle for £1.50.

Work with these people who might earn your island a tidy income not against them. Be free to make your own decisions in your own island with your own money for the good of your own people instead of having to doff your cap here and act grateful for what you're given.

Go on, make us jealous of your success.

no1native

A bit slippery!!!!

They have a plan so conning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel!

I for one would love to make you jealous, but I'm afraid with the deal that is on the table right now, only a select few in a private company would end up with the gold mine, while the island with all it's natural resources gets the shaft!

Is that fair?

DM

So you play for a better deal? But I thought you were blowing your bugle and beating your jungle drums because some guys vehemently against the whole FAB idea got elected?

Do you want a good deal or is it no deal at any cost?

no1native

@DM

I've been advocating for a better deal for the island from day one.

Our current States members have 'almost' given our biggest resource away so I really am playing to win.

I can't play the bugle so my jungle drums beat out the call for change and they seem to have been answered in spades!

The new States members have assured me that they too only want the best for the island. Whether that is no deal or a much improved deal.

Fabio

You say that we're not getting a good enough deal for 'our biggest resource' - presumably meaning tidal? Do you have any evidence of this, like comparisons with other projects. It would be interesting to know what they pay in the form of licence and royalties, to give us an idea of whether we really are getting a bad deal as you say.

donald

Perhaps the radioactivity from just across the water is having effect?

TAFF

So many opinions and so few facts. As I said earlier, this should be seen as one project which covers all aspects - not a series of independent activities. And SofA should take the lead role as they stand to benefit most, if some of the opinions are accurate. . That should clarify the facts and opinions, and allow the correct decision to be taken. . But who in SofA can do that ? Or do we pay another small fortune to consultants? Could one of the new SMs make name for himself? Mr Dent, for example. .

Fabio

A different scenario:

A company nothing to do with ARE are planning to lay an electricity and fibre optic cable between U.K. And France, passing Alderney. I can imagine that we would be saying "what a shame it isn't coming via Alderney, so that we can access the fibre optics and have an opportunity for cheap electric in the future".....

But instead we are saying 'We don't want it! £70k isn't enough! We want our cut from all the power going through the line!"

I don't know what the answer is to resolve the current stand-off situation, but I am hoping that the above scenario doesn't become a reality, and in the future we're not left saying "what a shame we didn't take the opportunity when it was there...."

Woodman

Fabio,

Yes, that is a different scenario, but a pointless one. It's a bit like saying in a marina debate "Let's imagine it's actually being offered by a company that has no interest in build dozens/hundreds of accommodation units."

You yourself have said the only reason FAB want to route via Alderney is to facilitate connection of future tidal power developments, presumably by ARE.

Douglas White

It would appear that connection to tidal is the only reason FAB is proposed to cross the island.

We have a resource we wish to sell, if possible, and someone offering a route to market.

A marina project without residential units appears not viable unless it's a public project with a long term coverage of capital costs. We don't have the money and Guernsey isn't going to give it to us. So here is an obviously beneficial project that won't happen.

The only other suggestion so far is to get more bird watchers and military history enthusiasts. They are great, they love the island, but we'd need tens of thousands to fill the black hole in the public accounts.

So, we are left with tidal, if it works, or nothing unless there are other ideas or do we sit here and whine "what a shame we didn't take the opportunity when it was there...."?

Woodman

Doug,

I'm glad someone understands my comparison with a marina project.

Although it was merely given to illustrate that you have to deal with the scenario in hand, not a theoretical one, it also works as an illustration of a small community dealing with a large commercial developer or developers, in the current (no pun intended) case, ARE and FAB.

A marina developer isn't going to build one primarily to benefit Alderney. They will put forward their initial proposal containing far more houses/flats than they think they can get away with and will then begin the haggling process with the States, who will knock them back until finally they arrive at a development which the developer can profit from and the States can say they've got the absolute best deal for Alderney. Only then, when all the details of the whole project have been set, should the States sign the deal.

Vague hints about fibre optic and electricity from France are not good enough. £70k p.a. for a cable routing that will net its owner many millions is not good enough. Not considering fully the implications of converting tidal energy onshore in Alderney is not good enough. Until all these things are properly addressed, no deal should be signed