States 'could make profit' from Europe's energy crisis

GUERNSEY could make a ‘large windfall profit’ if Electricite de France bought the island out of its contract with the energy company.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31295697)
(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31295697)

Guernsey Electricity and the States are in talks with the French electricity giant about reducing the electricity supply the island receives through the cable link with France.

The Ukraine war is impacting EDF’s ability to supply, and it has emerged that it would pay compensation to Guernsey Electricity if the island was to use less imported electricity this winter.

But that would also mean that the local utility would be generating more electricity at the power station.

States’ Trading Supervisory Board president Peter Roffey told yesterday’s Scrutiny Committee hearing into STSB’s current activities that the possibility was being explored, but he could not offer much detail with talks ongoing.

‘It’s important to remember that diesel [generation] is running during the winter anyway, we rely on it at some point.

‘There is some spare spinning capacity with one of those engines being on that still has residual diesel that isn’t used,’ said Alastair Ford, head of the shareholder executive at STSB.

‘It is a question of whether we use more diesel generation.’

GEL has consistently said that the deal with EDF is protecting local consumers from steep rises in costs, such as those being seen in the UK and elsewhere.

But the current level of volatility in the market, which is being caused partly by capacity issues in Europe, will eventually impact on energy prices.

‘STSB is approaching it with an open mind.

‘Putin has put all of Europe in a situation where they are going to struggle with having enough energy this winter,’ said Deputy Roffey.

‘Against that backdrop we have our generating plant, some of it relatively modern, sitting doing nothing.’

He was unwilling to expand on the answers due to commercial sensitivity.

‘We need to move quickly because we are talking about the winter months, which aren’t far away.

‘The whole business approach of putting together a policy letter would take too long.’

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