The move has been welcomed by Alderney States member Alex Snowdon, who made his views about the Fab Link project known before being elected for his first term in 2016 and believed that this had helped his campaign.
‘I welcome Fab Link’s update,’ he said. ‘It’s been quiet for some time now so it gives clarity to the way the project is proceeding.’
When first put forward in 2014, the idea of the Fab Link was to have incorporated a tidal power array off Alderney which it was hoped would export energy to the European grid.
The plan also included having a converter station in the island, but this was dropped following planning issues and local opposition.
There remained an option for the cable to run over the island, but, yesterday it emerged that after considering the choices, Fab Link Ltd and RTE, the promoters of the project, have decided to bypass the island altogether.
Fab Link project director James Dickson said that the decision was taken given ongoing uncertainties around the need for Alderney to export electricity.
‘This gives us more certainty, as we need to work with fewer permissions, approvals and licences. It is also a more cost-effective route, and it will take less time to lay the cables.’
The change will mean a loss of income to Alderney – the company was prepared to pay the island £70,000 a year to lease the land over which the cable would pass.
News of the change was welcomed by Alderney States member Bill Abel, who chairs the Policy & Finance Committee’s energy working group.
‘It would have devastated the island’s environment,’ he said.
Had plans for tidal energy being fed into the cable come to fruition, they would have required a 20m-high converter station, turning alternating current into direct current, and that also proved controversial.
It was feared that a cable across the island would have impacted on Holocaust graves so the news was welcomed by the Anglo/Jewish heritage group JTrails.
‘We are delighted that good sense has now finally prevailed and that Fab Link will now no longer jeopardise Holocaust graves and other graves of the victims of the Nazis across Longis Common,’ said JTrails’ director Marcus Roberts.
Mr Dickson said that the decision to bypass Alderney was another step forward towards the company’s aim of securing final investment and launching in 2025.
Alderney Renewable Energy and Transmission Investment LLP established a joint venture company to develop Fab Link.
n Efforts to contact ARE for comment were unsuccessful.