The second phase of the Hospital Modernisation Project will increase the hospital’s draw from the island’s electricity grid by 1%, meaning the finished development would use 3% of all the electricity supplied into the grid by Guernsey Electricity (GEL).
The data was revealed after Deputy Neil Inder submitted several Rule 14 questions to the President of the States Trading Supervisory Board, which governs GEL and provides political oversight of its operation.
The answers also reveal that it’s going to cost £12.9million to build the electricity infrastructure required to support the second phase of the project.
Deputy Inder – concerned that deputies aren’t being given the full picture - sought to find out more about how the second phase of the Hospital Modernisation Project will be powered.
It precedes the upcoming capital portfolio debate, where deputies will be asked to vote on prioritising the Education Programme over the completion of the hospital build. Something which Deputy Inder says is another example of Guernsey’s “fundamental problem in the way capital expenditure is voted on”.
“We’re being told HSC’s project is essentially ‘just a building’ - but it’s not,” he said, noting increased operating costs, staff numbers and the running of two new high voltage cables from Barkers Quarry and Le Murier to the site.
“You wouldn’t build a building in the private sector without fully taking into account the power supply.”
Pictured: Deputy Inder.
In response to Deputy Inder’s questions, Deputy Peter Roffey (President of STSB) said not only would the total electricity consumption rise to 3% but “it is anticipated that further electrification of the energy demand at the site as part of its Future Energy Programme could increase this proportion significantly”.
It was stressed that the development of new electricity infrastructure in the area would not supply the Princess Elizabeth Hospital alone.
“The hospital modernisation project has come at an opportune time from the perspective of developing the Island’s critical power infrastructure,” said Deputy Roffey.
“GEL has long recognised the need to boost power supplies in the south-east of the Island as the demand for electricity continues to grow with the energy transition away from fossil fuels. The additional power requirements arising from the hospital development itself have only reinforced the need for an investment in bulk power capacity into the area.
“The hospital development has become both the catalyst and the enabler for GEL to progress this important investment.”
It was also revealed that the necessary cabling will run through 29 privately owned parcels of land.
“GEL does not have any statutory powers to undertake compulsory purchase of land for electricity cables,” explained Deputy Roffey. “However, there are provisions within the Electricity Law, 20012, that enable an electricity licensee to install, operate and maintain electricity cables and equipment on any land needed for generating, conveying or supplying electricity.”
Pictured: The President of Health & Social Care, Deputy Al Brouard, will need to persuade the assembly that the second phase of the hospital project is essential.
It is notable that GEL’s approach has been to approach third-party owners and agree conveyances or wayleaves without relying on the law. Deputy Roffey said STSB has never had to intervene or utilise the States ability to undertake compulsory purchases on behalf of GEL.
GEL will not be purchasing any land to facilitate running cables to the PEH, but has budgeted £250,000 in wayleaves instead.
Deputy Roffey said, “to date, GEL has advised that approximately one third of these wayleave agreements have been completed, with the remainder having been agreed in principle”.
Deputy Inder said he has submitted additional Rule 14 questions about staffing the future hospital.
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