Guernsey Press

Electricity strategy is ‘key to decarbonisation’

THE States is set to work on a new electricity strategy as a key element to the island’s energy policy – at a time when the UK has announced ambitious plans to decarbonise the country’s energy and local campaigners want to close down the power station as quickly as possible.

Environment & Infrastructure president Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30702605)

Among the UK’s ambitions, announced this week in its Energy Security Strategy, is to be able to generate enough electricity through offshore wind to power the whole country by 2030.

It said that the price of generating electricity through offshore wind had fallen by 65% since 2015 and onshore costs had halved since 2013.

Bob Beebe, chief executive officer of The Little Green Energy Company, called for the electricity strategy to be activated to enable the island to ‘get on with delivering key components needed to decarbonise.’

His company is particularly active in solar power and he said that electricity storage was important in planning for the future.

Environment & Infrastructure Committee president Lindsay de Sausmarez told the Scrutiny Management Committee at a public hearing yesterday that her committee was keen to make progress, including with renewables.

‘One of the first things, and one of the key requirements, is to clearly define what we mean by low carbon emission energy. It will be about what targets might be the most fortuitous for us, based on official prices in the island.

‘The electricity strategy is a really key bit of work that

will inform how we take the steps and that’s why we are very keen that work happens this political year.

‘We are keen to crack on, and we can’t make investment decisions before you have that platform.’

Deputy de Sausmarez said a electricity strategy should be debated by the end of the year. ‘It’s really important that we do things in the right order,’ she said.

‘I know its really tempting to get all the attention on one thing – are we going to have a wind farm or when is tidal power going to be ready? – but actually the infrastructure to facilitate that on-island tends to be one of the most important factors.’

The Clean Earth Trust locally has said that the power station should be shut down as the States accelerates use of solar, offshore wind and tidal power.

Policy officer Paul Bugden said that the island’s energy needs should be met by a combination of solar, offshore wind and tidal power. Although he accepted that this would take time, he was concerned that the States was too slow.

‘Our goal is to see the Vale power station decommissioned as soon as a sustainable and secure alternative supply of energy is available. This goal can be achieved when all the island’s energy requirements are derived from renewable sources.

‘Some of these renewable energy technologies are already commercially available.

‘Unfortunately, there has, to date, been inadequate long-term planning by the States of Guernsey to achieve exploitation of our local resources.

‘Self-sufficiency in power supply is a realistic prospect for the Bailiwick and there may also be scope to become a net exporter.’

Until this was possible cable link connections with France would continue to be the island’s low carbon source of electricity, with the power station offering back up.

Deputy de Sausmarez said that the security threshold was very high to ensure that peak demand could always be met, and that there was a tension between security and affordability.