Fab Link in threat to miss out Alderney completely

THE company behind plans to develop a 220km electrical inter-connector between France, Alderney and Britain is threatening to bypass Alderney unless an amendment to the planning law is fast-tracked.

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In 2015, Fab Link Ltd signed a legally-binding option agreement with the States of Alderney for the right to lay inter-connector cables in Alderney’s territorial waters and across the island.

The agreement is subject to the company receiving planning permission from Alderney States in due course, but under the current 2002 planning law, the States cannot determine an application for the Fab link.

This was due to be resolved as part of the Land Use Plan review, but that has been delayed and Fab said the process now fell outside its time-frame for delivering the project.

It has drawn up plans for an alternative offshore route that would bypass Alderney’s territorial waters and a seabed survey will commence shortly.

Fab project development manager Chris Jenner said it had offered to re-negotiate the option agreement with  Alderney’s States providing its planning application can be progressed in a timely manner. It is now requesting amendment of the law by the end of June.

Comments for: "Fab Link in threat to miss out Alderney completely"

Devil's Advocate

Make it worth Alderney's while and you might get somewhere - the current offer is a joke.

Douglas White

Small island has huge natural renewable energy source in it's possession. Currently it's basically bankrupt but is reluctantly looked after by it's larger neighbour. Opportunity comes along to harness the resource and provide a substantial income for the little island. Possibly removing it's reliance on it's bigger neighbour. The price for this? On the face of it just some, probably, ugly buildings clustered in a quarry but also a lot of change and people here don't like change.

Handled and shaped correctly this (FAB & Tidal) could eventually make us financially independent in a troubled world.

Sadly, I fear the opportunity will be allowed to pass us by and the moans and gripes about poor transport, declining population, Aurigny, Guernsey, lack of work, fewer tourists etc... will continue unabated.

TAFF

So threaten away, and go away. Most people on Alderney are not in favour of Fablink. Nor is there any clear statement about the current status of the project.. The whole thing has been badly handled from the start. And bodes ill for the future. So leave Alderney alone, it is better without FAB link.

Wings

A classic Ostrich approach from someone who can't see the bigger picture. ARE needs this link to export its electricity. They aren't going to produce it just for use in Alderney.

TAFF

I suspect Doug White is confusing Fablink, with Alderney Renewable Energy.

This proposal from FABlink is to be able to connect France to Britain via Alderney, for the supply of electricity. No local power generation included.. The cables transverse Alderney, potentially spoiling two of the best beaches, and with large converter buildings in the middle of the island, that will spoil other areas.. All Alderney gets is an annual fee, and maybe fibre optics.

It has been poorly explained, hence Doug;s confusion, and public opinion is not favourable. As per the Alderney Journal today. Sorry Doug.

Douglas White

The need for converter stations only comes with generation of tidal power. However, we know that both projects are linked but the FAB cable on it's own, once installed, will not leave much in the way of on island infrastructure. It's tidal that brings the royalties but also the most construction. Without FAB the economics of tidal become less favourable.

The bigger picture needs also to encompass our economic woes and any opinion needs to take this into account.

More tourists and residents might help plug the gap in the public finances but in the last decade both have declined whilst the remaining population has aged. 15% of our homes are in part time occupation with income taxes paid elsewhere.

Guernsey might not wish to be the goose that lays our golden egg forever. If times get tough down there we have to remember that there are no votes to be gained in St Peter Port by promising enhanced spending in St Anne.

analderneyopinion

I suspect you may be confusing the very vocal minority against it, with the majority of people who are either not bothered by concept or who are all for it, and therefore do not need to make themselves known as they have nothing to protest against.

The cable will run underwater and underground so by those definitions how could it been visible to spoil any beach? And the converter station? Hidden in a disused stone quarry that is already not exactly an attractive place.

Alderney needs every penny it can get and the annual fees will add up over time. In an ever increasingly digital world a free fibre optic cable to the island is not something to underestimate.

Woodman

"Fab project development manager Chris Jenner said it had offered to re-negotiate the option agreement with Alderney’s States providing its planning application can be progressed in a timely manner."

Does this mean they've finally realised that the current deal is derisory? Or is it just a hinted carrot to balance the stick they are waving at the States of Alderney? Whichever it is, the States need to stand firm on the planning process. By all means renegotiate the terms of the option agreement but it must not be dependent on bending the planning law to suit FAB and any renegotiation must be BEFORE the planning issues are decided.

Blackmail is an ugly word but it is the right word to describe what FAB are attempting.

Beanjar

Why were was Alderney allowed to sign a 'legally-binding option agreement' which it now looks like reneging on? Will Guernsey end up paying if they get sued for breach of contract? I can understand that this may not be much of a deal since power generation does not appear to be implicit in it, but nobody made them sign it. That was the time to make local power generation a definite part of the deal, before signing.

Woodman

Beanjar,

The States of Alderney are entitled to sign legally binding agreements (even rubbish ones like the paltry 70-odd thousand a year from FAB). There is no reneige and no breach of contract, so no prospect of being sued. It's simply that the timescale of the planning process and possibly the potential outcome of that process that FAB are objecting to.If anyone is looking at breaking the agreement it is FABlink, if they are unsuccessful in bending the planning process to their own ends.

no1native

Can anyone explain to me why FAB are still pursuing the Alderney route when we know for a fact that,

: It will cost FAB an extra 8 million euros to come via Alderney.

: FAB will have to pay £70K per annum to Alderney.

:They only have an option agreement with the States.

:They still have to wait for the Land Use Plan approval. (This may not be approved)

:They still have to meet BDCC planning. (This may not be approved)

:They have yet to produce a Master Plan of the entire project.

:They have not yet disclosed a Declaration of intent.

: They have yet to engage in a current Pulic presentation.

: They are threatening to go around Alderney and yet they still what to negotiate with the States.

: ARE who have a 50% stake (on paper)in FAB are in default of their license agreement and owe big money to the States. What will happen here?

These are only a few of the unanswered questions that need to be answered and made public before any educated desicions can be made.

Alderney MUST be of huge importance to FAB otherwise WHY are they putting up with all these time delays and extra costs. Wouldn't it be easier for them to just avoid Alderney altogether?

CommonSenseIsDead

I have heard that it's due to the possibility of plugging into renewable energy (tidal) at a later date - FAB can get a grant from the EU if there's renewable energy involved which more than offsets the extra cost.

Fabio

If only Alderney could harness negativity and sell it. It would be a very rich island!

Douglas White

That sums it up perfectly. We appear to be the architects of our own demise.

Woodman

Fabio, For electricity to work, it requires a positive AND a negative. No doubt there will be some positives and some negatives to the proposed FAB link.

Alderney needs to be sure that the negatives will be at least balanced by, and preferably outweighed by, the positives. At present, that doesn't appear to be the case.

Fabio

The only negative that I can see from Fab is the short-term disruption it will cause in laying it.

The positives I see are:- £70k per year (maybe more?), fibre optic infrastructure, and potential to use the cable in the future to import power. If it bypasses Alderney, those positives will be lost forever.

This seems to be a recurring theme in Alderney. Any proposal is met with negativity and suspicion. No deal is ever good enough. And what do we end up with? Nothing.

no1native

Fabio, from previous chats with you on this forum, I believe that you are a very knowledgeable and well informed person on this topic yet you still haven't answered any of my questions. Perhaps if you enlightened us and corrected anything that I may have got wrong the negativity would disappear?

TAFF

But No 1 is right. Far too many open questions. It could be for the good, or bad. We do not have sufficient info to be able to judge. Why has SofA not produced a clear statement of all the aspects, so that a proper judgement can be made? Without that we are flying blind. It is not negativity, it is common sense. Nor do I believe in Father Christmas.