Guernsey looks to UK and France for wind energy partner

Guernsey has approached the UK and France with proposals for a partnership to create a large wind farm.

Commerce and Employment Minister Kevin Stewart said the States were working out the costs of building a sizable wind farm off the island’s north coast.

He said the island needed the backing of its neighbours as it could not handle all the energy it would produce.

Deputy Stewart said he wanted to reassure islanders that if it went ahead it would be miles out to sea.

He said: “It will be quite a ways off so you won’t see them… it’s got to be of a certain size about 100 megawatts.

“To do that we will have to partner either with France or the UK because we can’t take that much power.”

Limited by territory

Jeremy Thompson, chairman of the States renewable energy team, said to produce 100 megawatts about 35 wind turbines would need to be installed, each producing three megawatts.

He said: “There is the option of going bigger and the further out you get the more acceptable that is because the visibility issue is not such a factor so you could go to five or six megawatt units… which would reduce the number.”

Mr Thompson said tests of the wind power on the north coast at Chouet had been successful.

He said: “Certainly if you swing round from the north west to the north east it’s anywhere from 30 megawatts to hundreds of megawatts, of course the only difference is the level of investment.”

Mr Thompson said one of the limitations on where any wind farm could be placed was that Guernsey’s territorial waters only extend three nautical miles (nm).

Discussions about increasing this to 12 nm are ongoing between the States and the UK.

Mr Thompson said being able to build up to 12 nm offshore made it “more acceptable” from a visual point of view and made more wind power available.

As well as on-island generation through burning fossil fuels Guernsey sources electricity from France, through an undersea cable that runs via Jersey.