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Herm by electric boat ‘in three, four years’

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ELECTRIC ferries could be operating between Guernsey and Herm within four years, as part of plans to make the island’s marine and aviation industry greener.

Mark Harrisson from Harrisson Aviation giving a presentation at the Digital Greenhouse – primarily about electric aircraft, but also the possibility of reaching Herm by electric ferry. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28553754)

Harrisson Aviation is behind the idea, which is focused chiefly on introducing electric Islanders in the Channel Islands with the aim being to provide a regular ‘bus service’ operated by the aircraft.

‘We’ve been burning fossil fuels for 400 years and we can no longer go down that line,’ strategic director Mark Harrisson told the audience at the first of three public presentations at the Digital Greenhouse.

He said that the goal was to obtain standard piston engine Islanders initially and have them converted to electric power by engineers based in Guernsey.

The operational side of the business will be run from Alderney by Green Air, a proposed new aviation company which he said would work in conjunction with, preferably, two other operators.

Long-term the goal was to provide a conversion service to airlines outside the island, which Mr Harrisson said would provide new jobs for specially trained engineers in the Bailiwick.

He has also been working with Travel Trident’s Peter Wilcox and said that the nature of the company’s ferries made them ideal to be converted to electric power.

Richard Nettleton, CEO of Waterside International Ltd in Guernsey, said after the presentation that in three or four years’ time electric ferries could be operating between Guernsey and Herm.

While touching on the marine aspects in his talk, Mr Harrisson focused mainly on aviation and said that Guernsey was set to be the subject of global interest as a result of his working with Project Fresson, which is the development by Cranfield Aerospace of an electric propulsion system for Islanders.

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‘The Bailiwick of Guernsey will be world leaders in what we are doing here,’ he said.

They plan to work with the States of Guernsey, Alderney and Jersey, he said, although governments will not be asked for funding.

He said the Green Air plan had three options, and a key part of the first was the purchase and operation of four Islanders, the wet-lease of two Aurigny Dornier aircraft with a third on standby. These would operate an inter-island airborne bus service.

The second option was just buying and operating the Islanders, while the third would be buying and operating two Islanders only on the Alderney-Jersey route.

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‘It’s a quite unique opportunity for the whole of the Channel Islands to be lifted by this,’ said Mr Harrisson.

He concluded by urging people to vote for deputies who backed the green agenda at October’s election.

. Two further presentations are planned for 27 August and 5 October, with the latter set to look more at the marine options while the former will include a live link with a representative of Project Fresson.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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