That’s the message from Alan Bates, chief executive officer of Guernsey Electricity.
‘The island’s aspiration for a green and sustainable future, and therefore how we provide for and use energy is at a crossroads. The States need to be clear and decisive in regards to how we meet our 2050 environmental targets and provide the appropriate policy guidance to allow the energy sector to plan for the future,’ said Mr Bates in Guernsey Electricity’s latest annual report.
‘At the forefront of this policy direction has to be the affordability of the journey. We as an island need to be pragmatic and sensible in determining what we can and cannot afford in terms of energy infrastructure.’
Mr Bates added there was now a need for greater engagement with customers and other stakeholders to develop a revised energy policy for Guernsey before committing to future major investments.
‘We are pleased that the States of Guernsey has now prioritised the development of the Energy Policy and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure the pathway to 2050 is both effective and affordable.
‘The revised energy policy, and our requirements to maintain electricity security, will influence the next phase of investment for the business. A decision for the island on how fuel is imported and delivered in the future, and the affordability of the solution, will affect what replaces the older on-island generating assets.
The chief executive officer of Guernsey Electricity stressed strategic and business planning remain core activities for the company, with continuing major infrastructure investments made in the past 12 months such as the commissioning of the Normandie 1 subsea cable.
This new cable provides additional capacity to import electricity via Jersey, reducing requirements for on-island generation and therefore the environmental impact of local operations. A new, more environmentally-friendly generator also came online at the island’s power station in May 2017 to ensure required level of on island security of supply is maintained.
Mr Bates added: ‘It remains clear that currently the most economically and environmentally long-term way to manage the affordability and security of supply to our customers is undoubtedly through a direct electricity link to France. While we currently only have one cable with which to import power, there will continue to be risks to deliver supplies through import.
‘Enabling works to allow a direct subsea connection with France are continuing and we envisage that this will be the first major investment to achieve our environmental goals. However, to assist in the assessment of these key assets, the business has been pushing for greater clarity on the policy for energy and security for the island,’ he said.
‘So, our strategy remains a second connection to the island, preferably via the direct link to France. We are working hard to deliver this, although it will be early in the next decade before this second connection will be in place. Therefore, we have to continue being in the position to generate locally to meet the whole island’s demand if necessary, and will invest in this pragmatically.’