As outlined in the company’s 2018/19 annual report and accounts, the failure of the current link in October 2018 created significant operational, financial and environmental challenges for Guernsey Electricity. Following an initial repair and subsequent analysis, a decision was taken to replace the undersea section of GJ1. The decision was based on the financial and environmental impact of not being able to operate the cable at full capacity.
Chief Executive Officer of Guernsey Electricity, Alan Bates, said: “Without reliable importation, security of supply to the Island would continue to be adversely affected. The inability to operate the cable above 25% of capacity resulted in the remainder of our electricity demand being generated at the power station. The additional cost of this was over £11m for the year and produced an associated 216,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Our view was that this was a totally unacceptable environmental and financial position and therefore, an opportunity was taken to replace, rather than continue to keep repairing the cable.”
Mr Bates added that the Guernsey Electricity team responded at an incredible pace with a revised tactical and strategic plan that enabled the cable to operate at reduced capacity before being replaced. This allowed Guernsey Electricity to continue to import 55% of the Island’s demand from renewable and low carbon sources throughout 2019.
“The dedication of all the Guernsey Electricity teams to ensure this level of importation was maintained, and provide the remainder of the Island’s needs through the power station should be recognised,” said Mr Bates.
“We are proud of the successful replacement of GJ1, which was completed as a matter of emergency in record time. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all teams at Guernsey Electricity and the cable manufacturer NKT for their hard work throughout the course of the project. The ongoing support and patience of our stakeholders and the general public in both Guernsey and Jersey has also been greatly appreciated.”
The failure of GJ1 reinforces the importance of securing a diverse and sustainable supply of electricity for Guernsey and reducing the reliance on fossil fuels. A clear direction for the energy transition will be pivotal in defining the diversity and security of the Island’s future energy supply, including local renewable generation and storage.