Guernsey Press

Power station site 'will look completely different by 2050’ – CEO

POWER generation could be removed from North Side and be transferred to Longue Hougue in the future if less on-island generation is needed, Guernsey Electricity CEO Alan Bates has said.

Guernsey Electricity CEO Alan Bates. (32192660)

Mr Bates was speaking for the first time since Environment & Infrastructure published its electricity strategy this week.

Its preferred option for the island's future is a combination of solar and wind power, and a new direct cable to France.

If this option is backed, local generation would still be required as back-up, but this could be smaller than the existing set-up.

This would mean big changes for the Vale power station.

Guernsey Electricity control room. (32192691)

‘This site will look completely different by 2050,’ Mr Bates said.

‘It will not look the same. In fact, if it does look the same, something has fundamentally gone wrong.’

If Environment & Infrastructure’s Option D was implemented, he said Guernsey’s landscape would change. ‘The island will be gaining a wind farm in the distance but lose a great a rusty tower in the foreground.’

Mr Bates said that a new 100MW subsea cable direct to France could be installed by the end of the decade, and that would allow the company to invest in fewer generators as they would have a more guaranteed and secure supply.

Mr Bates said that in an ideal world any updated power station will be going to ‘sit there doing nothing’, and will only be there for back-up and occasional top-up.

And that power station could even move from the Vale or be spread across a number of sites. One site he said had been discussed was Longue Hougue.

‘That would be an absolutely ideal site, as it’s away from populated areas,’ he said.

(Picture by Peter Frankland, 32192655)

‘We’re based in a certain location, and we’ve got to work out whether that’s the right location for all of these assets in the future. That’s something we’re starting to consider in terms of our generation strategy.’

Some of the generators at the Vale site are now more than 40 years old, and will need to be replaced no matter what energy generation pathway the States decides to take.

These include the ones that connect to the 57-metre high cooling tower, built in the late 1970s, which is the Bailiwick’s tallest structure.

What will change depends on what pathway the States decide on and that will affect the type and number of generators, their cost and how often they are used.

(Picture by Peter Frankland, 32192645)

Mr Bates said Guernsey Electricity needed to understand the strategic direction to give it an indication of what to plan for.

‘Then we can start doing some proper investment planning for the site,’ said Mr Bates.

‘If I can make one point, it’s that no decision is a decision to carry on as we are. And that’s a more expensive, more carbon-intensive route than actually following the pathway D.’