Alderney's new Island Plan retains the development of renewable energy as a priority. But the Chairman of its senior committee, Policy & Finance, says that tidal power - often identified as having the best potential for the island - is some way off yet.
Alderney States' recently-published Island Plan highlights several ‘energy action plans’ to increase the contribution of clean energy to the island's overall use.
This includes the creation of an energy policy for the island within the year and the development of various tidal, wind and solar projects.
For many years, there have been hopes that Alderney could benefit from the Alderney Race, a strait of water between the island and France which has the potential to provide some of the best tidal energy in Europe.
Despite this, the Chairman of the Policy & Finance Committee, Bill Abel, says sourcing this energy is not yet cost effective.
“The cost of tidal at the moment is about 25p per unit, which compares to about 20p per unit for us to produce power from the oil we burn,” said Mr Abel.
“We’re not in the right ballpark yet.”
Pictured: The Chairman of Alderney's Policy & Finance Committee says that the cost of generating tidal power will have to fall before it is economically viable for the island.
Mr Abel said the States of Alderney are in “observation mode” at the moment while the Tidal Stream Industry Energiser Project - known as the TIGER project - continues to be developed in France. It is a collaborative project between government and business in France to utilise tidal power in the strait.
“The technology as far as tidal power goes is still advancing," said Mr Abel.
"We’re fortunate in that the TIGER project is taking place on the other side of the Race… I think there are two or three companies putting units in the water there.
“That’s useful to us because there will be a lot of development done in the Race.”
The TIGER project intends to get energy costs down to 22.5p per unit.
“We’re sitting in the observation seats on the other side of the Race watching that technology develop… while the price comes down.”
Pictured: Wind-generated energy could yet prove to be the cheapest source of renewable electricity for Alderney.
In the meantime, the States of Alderney are pursuing plans to generate energy through solar and wind.
Mr Abel said that solar panels in Alderney could generate power at 10-11p per unit while a wind turbine could go as low as 5–6p per unit.
“This is very attractive compared to the fuel costs being produced now. It’s a question of getting ourselves up and going on these projects.
“We’re also looking at hydrogen as well, but that technology is a good few years away.”
In the immediate future, policy development work on solar energy needs to be completed, which Mr Abel said is close. The States will then meet Alderney Electricity Ltd. to plan the next steps.
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