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Alderney makes u-turn on tidal power

Alderney makes u-turn on tidal power

Wednesday 07 June 2023

Alderney makes u-turn on tidal power

Wednesday 07 June 2023

Alderney’s government is inviting interest from third parties in harnessing the power of the tides around Alderney and potentially the ‘Alderney Race’, despite pushing for only wind and solar just over a year ago.

When the island’s ‘Island Plan’ was published early last year, the development of renewable energy was a high priority for the States of Alderney. However, the-then Chairman of the Policy and Finance Committee said tidal power was some way off yet.

Bill Abel has since stepped down from the committee and now leads the Energy Working Group in Alderney and seems to have changed his mind on tidal. 

“We have the potential to produce renewable energy from solar, wind, tidal and wave resources," he said. 

"We are opening up the possibilities offered by our extensive tidal resources” 

“Recognising our past experiences related to our tidal resources, this process is being managed by the Policy & Finance Committee’s Energy Working Group, and we are committed to keeping the community informed. A report with regard to the Request for Proposals will be submitted to the States as part of the July Billet d’Etat.” 

In 2022 Mr Abel said that tidal power was simply too expensive compared to wind and solar power and that Alderney was in “observation mode”. The island was keeping an eye on developments in France and, in particular, observing the Tidal Stream Industry Energiser Project (TIGER) which was set to bring the price of generating tidal power down considerably. 

Express has reached out to Mr Abel to find out what has changed to make tidal power now seem feasible.


The Energy Working Group is now inviting global tidal energy providers to submit proposals on how they would harness the island’s tidal resource. “It is hoped responses from these companies will not only provide details of likely set-ups by also the potential cost per kWh of power generated,” said the States of Alderney. 

The group will then decide whether it is worth pursuing an official tender process. 

Mr Abel continued: “Alderney is highly reliant upon imported oil for the generation of electricity, heating and transport. This is not only unsustainable for environmental reasons but will continue to make energy expensive, with limited expectation of being able to reduce the costs to consumers. 

The Alderney Race

The Alderney Race is a strait of water that runs between Alderney and the French Cotentin Peninsula. Due to the narrowness of the strait and the extreme tides seen along the coast of France near Alderney, the 'race' has always been seen as an untapped source of tidal power and French authorities have been seeking to set up tidal turbines for a number of years.


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