Study findings float idea of viable offshore wind project

A FLOATING offshore wind project that would cost some £108m. to install is currently the frontrunner in work to develop renewables.

A floating offshore wind turbine similar to the one pictured that could be situated 12 nautical miles north-west of the island.

A preliminary feasibility study was released yesterday and now more equipment will be installed at Mont Cuet to help take things forward.

The study by Xodus Group concluded that a 30MW offshore wind project could be viable, shortlisting three preferred sites for five turbines.

One option was the north coast, some 5km offshore, another west of Schole Bank, 15km away, and the third – offshore floating – 12 nautical miles, or 25km, north-west of the island.

The offshore floating option is the most costly, but is seen as preferable because of the visual impact of the other two which have estimated capital costs of £68.23m. and £80.98m. respectively.

Costs of producing electricity would be higher than the current methods, to help mitigate against this it recommends the States funds the project to secure the lower financing costs.

The Renewable Energy Team will continue to progress its work before discussing the viability of a project with Environment & Infrastructure.

‘A 30MW offshore wind farm has the potential to generate around one third of Guernsey’s current electricity requirements,’ said E&I member Shane Langlois.

Comments for: "Study findings float idea of viable offshore wind project"


Didn't they already do this study around 5 years ago which came up with the same conclusion?


The technology has advanced massively in the last 5 years along with battery storage. This could work and be viable IMO


We have already invested millions in cables to connect to perhaps the worlds most progressive energy from renewables country. As an island of only 60,000 can we really burden ourselves with even higher electricity bills when our footprint is already better than most?


Even though I tend to lean in favor of renewable energy I have to agree that the higher energy bills are a bit of a problem. Technology is improving all the time so maybe it's best to wait until the costs are on par or at least nearly on par. Although with the rising cost of fossil fuels and technology making renewable energy sources cheaper and cheaper, I wonder how long it would be until that is a reality.

Devil's Advocate

It's reality now, see my post below.

Nicholas Mahy

It make no sense, for this sort of money, not to be looking at harnessing Guernsey's almost unique and abundant energy resource - it has been there for centuries and will still be there in centuries to come - TIDAL ENERGY. But the engineering problems envisaged (fixing and maintaining turbines to/on the seabed in a fast-running tidal stream) seems to deflect attention towards weather dependent/weather vulnerable wind generators. I urge planners to study the developments in the following link:-

Common sense

Wind farms are the least effective effective way of producing energy converting less than 15%; the UK has dropped the funding for these kind of projects due to the poor return.

We live on a island surrounded by tidal waters perhaps this potential source of renewable energy should be considered if any.

Wind farms are ugly and have an effect on the environment e.g. Whole colonies of bats have been destroyed where they have been set up.

Jumping on a band wagon just to say the island is dong it's bit is wrong and just a ticky box exercise (deputies always worried about the island's appearance the world stage), look at what the island needs and if a renewable source is required then pick the appropriate method and undertake a full cost/benefit analysis.

A few weeks ago the UK celebrated not using fossil fuels to produce electricity for a 24 hour period, this event was not achieved due to wind farms etc but the productivity of nuclear power plants (so it's okay to raise radioactivity world wide as long as carbon emissions don't increase) unfortunately until the technology improves dramatically this will remain the case. I echo Jake's view, let the richer counties pay for the technology to be developed and once it is affordable consider what is avaliable and perhaps then the public will support the proposal.

Again BB happy to spend taxpayers mone, how much financial damage can he do to the island before the next election. So would this make the spend on the waste strategy 460,000,000 plus interest resulting in a spend of half a billion over 32 years.

Is GSP not blocking this rediculas spending in a desperate attempt to use up the loan?

How much for a refuse bag £10 each?

Devil's Advocate

Best read this then:-

Quotes for the laxy:-

The price for a megawatt hour is now between €50 and €96 for onshore wind and €73 to €140 for offshore wind, compared to around €65 to €70 for gas and coal. Electricity generated from onshore windfarms is now the cheapest among newly installed power sources in the UK and many other countries. If environmental costs are considered, the picture looks even more favorable for wind power.

Germany now meets one-third of its electricity demand with renewable energy, Denmark 42%, and Scotland as much as 58%. On some sunny or very windy days, renewables can now fully supply the electricity demand in these countries.

“Wind power on land is becoming the cheapest form of newly installed electricity capacity,” he says. “And even out here at sea, we can’t say anymore that there are technical hurdles.”

In addition, the cost per megawatt hour has dropped by about 50% in the last few years alone for many projects, with a record low of $81 for Dong’s Borssele 1 and 2 projects – two soon-to-be-built wind farms off the Dutch coast. That’s compared to $155 for offshore wind installations just a few years ago.

More than 3,300 grid-connected turbines now exist in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Irish Sea, and 114 new wind turbines were linked to the grid in European waters in the first half of this year alone.

“A single rotation of an eight-megawatt turbine will cover the daily electricity consumption of an average British household,”

Common sense

DA I have read the article and several things strike me

1) it is written by Christian Schwargerl who rote a book about how man is affecting the environment so clearly has a bias

2) the article infact covers up the actual efficientcy of wind farms as it deliberately tries to make the figures sound more impressive by adding together all the energy totals created by renewable resources to give a figure of 33% when a quick google shows at wind production is around. 12% which he does not use. One interesting thing about the article is that a large percentage of wind power generated electricity cannot be put into the grid yet they still produce it.

3) the article does not do a comparison of the various efficiencies of renewable energy so as I stared before it is the lease efficient.

Problems notes by Process industry forum are

If wind speed is below a certain threshold, turbines depend on other forms of electricity generation in order to operate.

Planning permission can be hard to get hold of for onshore wind farms due to the visual impact of the turbines.

The complexity of manufacturing offshore wind farms makes it a much more costly method than onshore wind farms.

Wind turbines generate a lot less power than the average fossil fuelled power station, requiring multiple wind turbines to be built in order to make an impact.

At this time there has been no in depth research into the effect in birds and bats just a system of monitoring.

I am not arguing that we should not be looking for a cleaner form of energy but the cost at this time is too high and wind power may not be the right form of renewable energy for Guernsey. I would rather the states use the money for solar panels to be attached to residents who want the option.

At this time how can the environment justify spending £100,000,000 on a wind farm when Guernsey is pumping raw sewage into the harbour. The deputies need to get their priorities right, what is causing more damage to the environment.

Common sense

Should say residents properties. Solar energy would help those on low income cope with the electric bill and make families consider the environment by incorporating it in their daily lives without the concept being forced upon them.


Wind farms are ugly ?? Are they ? Surely a matter of opinion - I quite like them. And it is not as if they would be on the island. The closest proposal would be five kilometres away. Barclay Castle is more of an eyesore !

And no bats out there ! Unless there are new species of sea-bat roaming off the west of Guernsey !

Common sense


You are rig is a matter of opinion about how they look.

I raised the point about bats as a study by BSG Ecology have confirmed that resident and migratory bats do fly out at sea to forage for a plentiful food supply. No one has undertaken a full study of how WFs effect the environment and we are only gradually finding out piecemeal the extent of the damage. This project would be a stepping stone and before long arguments would be put forward to have onsite wind farms.

Common sense


It should say you are right this is


Well said Common Sense.

This whole wind turbine thing is a bandwagon for the landed gentry and manufacturers of the units.

I'm not really keen on tidal either as my understanding is that underwater turbines wreak havoc on the underwater environment.


'Band wagon for the landed gentry and manufacturers of the units...' Lol

I suppose we could just carry on shipping in oil which is perfectly safe and environmentally high brow. One could almost forget about the little incidents, the Amoco Cadiz and Torey Canyon oil spills. We're still paying the price of the latter.

At least wind turbine just break or burn out and tidal turbines hardly seem to be greatest threat in relative terms.


When will this madness end?

Nicholas Mahy


Words fail me!!

First of all, why on earth are they wasting £12k per annum to rent an anemometer for two years, this to be erected at Mont Cuet, this location miles from where these bird mincers would be located.

We do have a Met. Office and there are algorithms which can be used to calculate the wind speed at sea level. Failing which, why not use the weather data which is already out there and readily available on-line? e.g. The Channel Light Vessel. Yet another option would be to buy a top of the range off the shelf weather station. Davis make some superb stations and one costing £1k would easily give the information required.

They love spending on our money on ridiculous vanity projects.

In the article it is quoted that this form of power is reliable? How does that work when the there is no wind, or when it blows more than 36 mph and they have to be disengaged because they destroy themselves?

Without expensive subsidies these renewables are a non starter.

I've stated this before, in the winter of 2010, Denmark's offshore wind farms actually used more electricity taken from their National Grid than they contributed. This due to the usual Winter anti-cyclone parked over them which gave no wind and clear skies leading to freezing conditions and fossil fuel generated electricity had to be used to heat the gearbox oil in the turbines to prevent them from freezing solid.

The powers that be also need to look at the figures in terms of efficiency. There are some excellent figures out there readily available which show that they don't provide anything like the amount of power as advertised.

They have just started dismantling Vindeby offshore wind farm after 25 years in Denmark.

In summary, the produced electricity cost twice as much as coal or gas generated electricity. It only lasted 25 years. This cost does not include the connection to the grid. This double the cost doesn't cover the cost of having alternative energy on standby for when the wind doesn't blow or it blows too much. The capacity was just 22% of the stated capacity at the outset.

Still, no doubt 'it will cost what it costs'.


Oh well, here's a pointless waste of money that ticks all the lefty, greenie, PC boxes. With the inevitable overspend, there goes the rest of the £330 Million that has been burning a hole in Gav's clown-sized pocket. To be honest, it has taken him a bit longer than I thought.


So can someone tell me what percentage of our electricity taken from France come from renewable and nuclear( clean ) sources and how that compares to the rest of the world. I would suspect we are doing a very good job in that regard so no further need for vanity projects .

Up in Annie's room

Bean Jar

..."there goes the rest of the £330 Million."

Regardless whether the bond was a good idea or not, what would you spend it on now seeing as it's irreversibly there?

I think wave energy could be more cost effective fwiw, in the long run.


Well I wouldn't keep spending it like a drunk sailor on shore leave. There was no need to borrow it, and it will all need to be paid back. They should invest it properly, not on any of Gav's mad hobby-horse plans but safely, properly and professionally. They will probably not be able to achieve the same return as Gav has generously committed to pay investors, but it would be better than just flushing it.


A recent analysis of almost 3,000 onshore wind turbines — the biggest study of its kind —warned that they will continue to generate electricity effectively for just 12 to 15 years; the wind energy industry and the Government based all their original calculations on turbines having a lifespan of 20 to 25 years.

The study estimated that routine wear and tear will more than double the cost of electricity being produced by wind farms in the next decade.

The list of fires and cataclysmic turbine failures continues to grow, (in addition to the well known noise problems) disintegration might be one of the reasons why there are even stricter strict conditions being placed on how close land based turbines are allowed to be erected near to dwellings. The very poorly costed projections for the suggested modest Guernsey 30mW(peak), off-shore project represents extremely poor value for money indeed.


" The John Muir Trust (JMT), one of Scotland's leading conservation bodies, has challenged the common assertion that wind farms run at an average of 30 per cent capacity over a year. A study carried out for the Trust into the energy generated by dozens of wind farms, the majority of which are in Scotland, between November 2009 and last month, found they actually ran at 22 per cent of capacity".

Not very impressive is it!

100% Donkey

Wind Turbines - what a ridiculous idea from a bunch of boffins who have a vested interest. Of course they would also expect the States to subsidise it !!

As already mentioned, this Island's carbon footprint is in petty good shape and I for one do not want these monstrosities on our horizon.

This Island has more important things to worry about, like Brexit !!!

Cher Eugene

As wind farms are a very, very expensive method of producing electricity one thing is certain, they will be supported by the Deputies who believe in "SPEND FIRST, THEN FIND A MEANS OF PRODUCING THE CASH" (Brehaut, Yerby & Roffey)


The only good news is that these puffin mincers will not last long with the high wind and tides that we get. You will notice that they usually give an estimated lifespan of '25 years' but the turbines never come with a warranty of anywhere near that. I would be amazed if they were not put out of commission by the first good storm. Despite turning them off in high winds (yes, they really do!) the chance of these massive floating structures surviving is very slim, and we expect storms every year. Nobody with a brain would buy one, which is obviously why the salesmen are targeting Guernsey States.


I am all in favour of wind farms, solar energy and tidal power generators but the cost is simply prohibitive at the moment.

Even in the future, the only way the immense capital expenditure will be justified is if the island can generate enough power to export it and supply the power at lower costs than in France.

If not, then it does not have a future.

Election Issues

From the preliminary feasibility study, carried out by Xodus Group, funded jointly by States of Guernsey and Guernsey Electricity.

*Developing a modest project of the order 30MW, will achieve the fundamental objective of an independent supply of electricity, together with benefits associated with 'energy diversification' namely - security, price certainty, sustainability and lower carbon.

*The cost is higher than current French importation and on-island generation.

*To mitigate the higher cost it is recommended that the majority of the project is funded by the States of Guernsey to secure the lowest cost of finance.

*Deputy Shane Langlois - "A 30MW offshore wind farm has the potential to generate around one third of Guernsey's current electricity requirements"

But, in Feb, this year a new power link with France via Jersey was switched on ahead of schedule and will meet current and future electricity demands. Present importation contract provides low carbon electricity from nuclear and hydro electric sources in France.

(France is also building a 493MW wind farm which is 23 miles from the south coast of Jersey. They are also considering an offshore windfarm off west coast of Cherbourg)

If Guernsey already has low carbon electricity supplies that are quite sufficient to get through periods of a lack of wind, then there is no point in adding wind turbines to the mix. A complete waste of money, because when the wind blows, the electricity from turbines may have to be turned down or some of the supply from France turned down.

The cheapest and most sensible option would to have a single cable link directly with France.

Common sense

The Xodus Group are an organisation who's mission is to advise and support energy companies (fossil and renewable) and no doubt would expect to be kept on a retainer to continue their role should the project go ahead.

What was the financial cost to produce the report? These figures need to be made public so the taxpayer can make their own assessment of how the states are spending their hard earned money.

Devil's Advocate

Exactly, the economies of scale for a 30MW site are poor and is unlikely to make itself pay. The one factor I've thought of is the security of supply for eco-energy from France- what if we can't get our eco-energy from them (for whatever reason)? We rely on French eco-energy to meet our emissions targets.


What emmision targets are those DA?

Devil's Advocate

We're signed up to the Kyoto protocol. Google 'Guernsey emission targets' for more info.


And you don't think this tiny island of 60,000 with no heavy industry is well positioned by the voluntary targets from that worldwide ' protocol'?


*Deputy Shane Langlois - "A 30MW offshore wind farm has the potential to generate around one third of Guernsey's current electricity requirements".

What planet are you on Shane, your maths is as good as Scott Ogier's when he misled the States in accepting his stupid proposals for exporting refuse half way around the World!

While 30mW might represent 33% of Guernsey's peak load when wind levels are at optimum, if you factor in the Scottish efficiency figures as per the John Muir Trust results, you will see that the actual figure is more likely to be only 6.6 mW which according to my calculations is only 13.6% of peak load over what is now the revised 12-13 years life expectancy for off-shore turbines. So where is the justification for spending a single Penny more on this silly, flawed pipe-dream?

Perhaps Shane might like to reveal just how much money and staff time has already been wasted - I bet he doesn't.

As several others have said, the money would be far better spent on laying a new power cable between and the Cotentin. If the cost of a new direct power cable would probably be substantially less than a crazy wind farm project, and would leave enough money to build and operate new, modern, reliable Channel Islands Ferry.

Devil's Advocate

Because renewable power supplies are expensive to set up and the return from exporting excess power is uncertain the standard advice is to install just enough for your 'base load' so you never export any power. I suspect that's why a 30MW capacity has been chosen.


Good job France doesn't agree with your standard advice which is supplied by who? Why doesn't our nearest neighbour agree?


We have so much borrowed cash in the bank, and our leaders just cannot wait to spend it, with new ways being thought of almost every day. I wonder what will be next.


Oh I have some news hot off the press, Dianne Abbott has been taken on to work out all the cost involved.


Ably assisted by our very own " it will cost what it will cost" Deputy Barry Brehaut no doubt.

Election Issues

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.......... President of E&I says that a project to find new ways of bringing hydrocarbon fuels into Guernsey needs continued funding.

A study is ongoing at looking at the option of building a '125 million' pound deep water berth. This deep water berth would offer affordable fuel security and resilience of energy supplies.

Deputy Barry Brehaut says that continued funding is required just to ensure the 'consultants' do the work of looking at the best solution. He says the cost of hiring 'consultants' for the hydrocarbon study is around 600,000 pounds.


This is obvious lunacy which means our dopey deputies will probably go for it, especially since Gav has got all that lovely bond money. May I make one very minor request that even the most swivel eyed greenie ought to agree with? When they are desperately trying to cost-justify this, they should not be allowed to estimate the life of these turbines at one minute longer than the warranty period. Surely that is not unreasonable? Nobody is in a better position to know how long they might survive than the manufacturer. I reckon it will be about two years but, heigh-ho, if a proper insurance-backed warranty for 25 years is provided I would be happy for them to use that parameter.

Election Issues

Back in February this year, the new power link with France via Jersey was switched on. Guernsey receives electricity from France in form of nuclear and hydro sources.

This project was hugely important to energy security and also to the long term affordability of electricity in Guernsey. The investment in the cable interconnectors was and is essential to maintaining a reliable supply of electricity at a price customers can afford.

The new cable increases the amount of electricity that Guernsey can import, a low carbon and more secure source of energy than generating electricity on island.

Increases Guernsey's import capacity to more than 95% of electricity requirements, with the remaining generated locally using diesel generators, which serve as backup to cable network.