Guernsey Press

Meerveld sacked as chairman of P&R’s offshore wind group

POLICY & RESOURCES has sacked Carl Meerveld as the chairman of its offshore wind group.

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P&R has claimed that Deputy Meerveld’s views on rewable energy soltutions for the island no longer reflected those of its sub-committee. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32565121)

The Guernsey Press reported yesterday that his position was under threat after he claimed that exporting wind power from Guernsey to Europe could raise enough income to make a goods and services tax unnecessary.

P&R has appointed Deputy Chris Blin as the new chairman of the group, which was set up last year and also includes P&R member David Mahoney.

The senior committee said it had invited Deputy Meerveld to remain on the group as an ordinary member and claimed he had declined – but minutes later Deputy Meerveld accused P&R of twisting the truth.

‘P&R has never asked me to remain in the working group, nor have I ever refused,’ he said.

‘The P&R committee did not even have the common decency to inform me that I was being removed, not only as chairman but also as a group member, before informing States members and the media.’

Deputy Meerveld has insisted that a wind farm off Guernsey’s coast ‘would generate billions of pounds of inward investment’. He criticised P&R for not being more enthusiastic about it as a credible alternative to its latest proposal for GST, which will be debated by the States next month.

P&R claimed that Deputy Meerveld’s views on the issue no longer reflected those of its sub-committee.

‘P&R is fully supportive of pursuing the possibilities of potential revenue-raising in the future,’ it said.

‘However, the reality is the sub-committee has yet to reach a stage where it can provide any evidence of the level of revenue that the project might generate, nor of the long-term time frame in which that revenue could be generated.

‘It is important that the community and States members have a realistic understanding of the potential of wind energy at this stage and the many decisions and challenges that need to be dealt with before it can be known what the likely benefits and time frames would be.’

Deputy Meerveld has pointed to the sums of money involved in recent auctions for renewable energy licences elsewhere as evidence of the economic potential of the industry locally.

P&R claimed the most-recent such auction held in the UK generated no bids for offshore wind.

But Deputy Meerveld said the auction had nothing to do with the type of sea bed leases which Guernsey should be exploring more enthusiastically.

‘This misunderstanding is another indication of how little P&R understands about this industry and its potential for Guernsey,’ he said.

‘Although I have confidence in my colleague Deputy Blin, I am increasingly questioning whether this P&R committee are the right people to professionally explore and exploit this massive opportunity on behalf of our community.’

Deputy Blin was looking forward to his new role leading P&R’s offshore wind group.

‘Our commitment is clear.

‘We’re here to ensure that Guernsey’s exploration of wind energy is driven by professionalism, grounded in evidence and focused on responsible, long-term benefits for our community to maximise the opportunities within our local waters.’

Deputy Meerveld, who P&R sent to France recently as part of a States delegation to investigate wind farms, pledged to maintain his interest in the issue.

‘I’m the world’s worst scrutineer from P&R’s perspective because I know a lot more about this subject than they do,’ he said.