A feasibility study examining the potential for the development of an offshore wind farm in Guernsey has indicated that the island has a range of suitable locations to exploit.
The feasibility study was commissioned by the States of Guernsey and Guernsey Electricity and carried out by Xodus Group. It says that pursuing offshore wind energy would provide a number of benefits for the island and recommends an extended wind and wave data gathering programme.
According to Xodus, development of a modest 30 MW offshore wind project would achieve the fundamental objective of an independent supply of electricity together with the benefits associated with energy diversification, such as security, price certainty, sustainability and lower carbon. While the cost of such a project would be higher than the current import price of electricity from France, the report notes that offshore wind costs are falling rapidly, and that funding by the States of Guernsey would help attract low-cost finance.
“Wind technology is continuing to mature and will offer increased levels of security and independence of supply,” said Peter Barnes, Lead Officer for the Renewable Energy Team. “Guernsey is well positioned to benefit from those developments and the Renewable Energy Team will continue working closely with Guernsey Electricity to further develop the potential opportunities identified.”
The report identified a preferred site located out near the 12 nautical mile boundary. While this site is in deep waters and favours the use of floating wind technology, near-shore sites would be less expensive to develop but would likely have visual and other impacts.
Guernsey Deputy Shane Langlois, member of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said: “A 30 MW offshore wind farm has the potential to generate around one third of Guernsey’s current electricity requirements. The Committee welcomes the findings of this study and, while not without risk, believes there are significant opportunities in progressing this work, such as security of supply, energy independence, fixed prices and lower emissions.”