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The carbon intensity of Guernsey's distributed electricity is 68g CO2e/kWh (2019). By comparison, Guernsey Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) is 241 CO2e/kWh and Guernsey Heating Oil is 316 CO2e/kWh.
Electricity is 4x lower carbon than gas or oil and has zero emissions at point of use.
When Guernsey Electricity complete their second interconnector project by the mid-2020s, a 100MW importation cable directly to France, this will enable increased importation of low-carbon electricity and meet 100% of island demand.
Electricity at this point will be 10x lower carbon than heating oil or gas.*
*Both Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Heating Oil are petroleum products refined from crude oil.
Electric heating is practically 100% efficient but can potentially offer efficiencies as high as 300% via an Air Source Heat Pump.
In contrast, other forms of heating will always be less than 100%-efficient as they will lose energy during the conversion from fuel to heat.
From 1st January 2020, all imported electricity supplies have Guarantees of Origin (GoO) certificates proving they are from renewable sources.
During 2020, over 90% of the energy the island used was imported from renewable sources.
These renewable sources include solar, wind and hydro power, imported to Guernsey from France using our subsea cable.
GoO's are issues for a controlled quantity of electricity generation (1 GO per MWh) and are used as evidence for customers on the source of delivered electricity, as set out in the Directive 2018/2001 of the European Parliament.
For context, in 2018 the island used 372,366 MWh of electricity and imported 318,572 MWh (ref 2018/19 GEL Annual report).
The carbon intensity of different heat sources has been compared in the table below.
This includes the use of GEL's electricity to power an Air Source Heat Pump, compared to the emission intensity of using LPG and Heating Oil for heating purposes.
Lifetime Intensity: These figures take into account the whole energy production chain. This includes exploration, extraction, processing, storage, transport, transformation into secondary fuels, final use, and disposal.
The Guernsey Electricity's mix for the forecasted emissions intensity of GEL's electricity in 2020/21 includes an assumption based on the proportion of electricity generated by each energy source (oil and renewable imports) in 2019/20.
For the forecast calculations for 2020, a mix of 50% offshore wind and 50% onshore wind has been assumed to replace nuclear energy.
*References: GEL sough independent advice from UK Carbon Emissions Specialists, WSP, in identifying the IPCC figures used in this note.
Guernsey Electricity is a regulated body within the Bailiwick of Guernsey and is directed by policy set out by the States of Guernsey.
The Energy Policy 2020-2050 provides direction to the energy market for long-term planning and investment, to manage the transition to decarbonisation and increases electrification for consumers.
As stated in the policy: "By 2050 at the latest, the vast majority of Guernsey's energy supplies will come from clean, low-carbon sources and residual emissions will be offset."
The Energy Policy seeks to create the conditions necessary to enable existing operators (such as Guernsey Electricity) to contribute towards both the decarbonisation of Guernsey's energy mix, and the security of the Island's energy supply, through the provision of low-carbon and/or renewable energy generated (though not necessarily exclusively) on-island.
The Committee for Environment and Infrastructure, under its mandate to advise the States of energy and climate change, advises the States to set a target to reduce Guernsey's greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The United Kingdom recently enshrined in law this same target, following the advice of the Committee on Climate Change (1), the independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008 (2) to advise the United Kingdom Government on matters relating to climate change.
The States are further advised to adopt an interim target of reducing emissions by 57% on 1990 levels by 2030, in line with the target set out in the United Kingdom's fifth carbon budget (for the period 2028-2032).
(1) Committee on Climate Change (2019) 'Net Zero: The UK's contribution to stopping global warming'
(2) Committee on Climate Change, 'About the Committee on Climate Change.'