A group of deputies set up by Policy & Resources to look into the issue is increasingly confident that using Guernsey’s sea bed for mass export to France or the UK would be practical and lucrative.
‘We have already received contact from developers approaching us,’ said Deputy Carl Meerveld, a member of the group.
‘We have not yet taken any plans to the market, but we have had conversations with serious players about how our seabed could best be used to economic advantage.
‘A wind farm on this scale could provide 30 to 40 times the energy Guernsey needs itself. Therefore, it would be supplied directly to the UK or France.
‘I believe this presents an opportunity to help address the financial issues Guernsey is facing, and reduce or negate the need for GST.’
Deputy Meerveld and another member of P&R’s group, Deputy Chris Blin, recently spent two days in France visiting wind farms and speaking to technicians, business leaders and politicians involved in the development of the industry.
They were part of a wider delegation of politicians from the Channel Islands, including Environment & Infrastructure president Lindsay de Sausmarez and Jersey ministers.
They spent their first day in St Brieuc, where the Spanish electricity company Iberdrola is currently building the first large-scale offshore wind farm in Brittany, which is expected to meet the energy needs of more than 800,000 customers.
‘It was fascinating to learn about their technical challenges working with a seabed, which is not dissimilar to ours, and to learn about how they are delivering their requirements and minimising impact on the environment with a wind farm on that scale,’ said Deputy Meerveld.
They then went to Cherbourg to study the development and deployment of wind turbines, including on land and offshore.
‘Their work with floating wind farms may be particularly applicable to our development opportunities in Guernsey,’ said Deputy Meerveld.
‘They were two extremely useful days.
‘It was fascinating to see wind farms being developed on Guernsey’s doorstep, whether large developments which are an economic opportunity for Guernsey, as P&R’s task and finish group is looking at, or smaller installations for our own energy needs, which the Environment & Infrastructure Committee is exploring.’
Deputy Meerveld said the idea would be for all the power generated off Guernsey’s coast to be supplied to France or the UK, while the island’s own energy needs would continue to be provided largely through cable links with the continent.
Two members of P&R, deputies Mark Helyar and David Mahoney, also sit on its task and finish group looking into using the sea bed to export wind power.
Deputy de Sausmarez, who led the Guernsey delegation, is expected to comment shortly about the trip and her committee’s planned next steps.