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Electricity Strategy debate shifted to September

Electricity Strategy debate shifted to September

Friday 07 July 2023

Electricity Strategy debate shifted to September

Friday 07 July 2023

The States will look at the island's proposed Electricity Strategy in September after Deputy Bob Murray suggested they wait until more is known about how other essential projects are funded

The Government Work Plan green paper - which sets out the government’s priorities for this political term, while the Capital Portfolio guides prioritisation of large projects – is due to be debated on 18 July.

The Electricity Strategy was due to be debated this week, with proposals for promoting the growth of local expertise in renewables receiving support from industry partners including Guernsey Electricity and the Little Green Energy Company, as well as the Chamber of Commerce.

Deputy Murray lodged a Sursis instead - seconded by Deputy Sam Haskins - to put that debate back until September.

bob Murray electricity

Pictured: Deputy Bob Murray has made no comment on the merit of the Electricity Strategy but has successfully moved the debate until September.

"The GWP reset is an attempt to bring a focus to the work of this States for the remainder of this term," he said. 

Arguing that approving a new strategy before the GWP reset would be the wrong order to do things, he said the island's increasingly pressured finances was at the root of his concerns. 

"Principally because of our lack of sufficient resources, and a number of major infrastructure projects that are all competing for the same limited capital at our disposal. The current GWP commitments have risen well over half a billion pounds which we cannot afford."

The Electricity Strategy, presented by the Committee for the Environment and Infrastructure, lays out six different options for meeting Guernsey’s growing demand for electricity, while aligning with carbon neutrality targets set within the Energy Policy 2020-2050. 

That Policy – which was agreed to in 2020 – encourages local, renewable energy generation while also establishing that the majority of the island’s power should come from renewable sources. 

E&I wasn’t asking for any concrete decisions this week, but it wanted the States Assembly to agree to a high-level strategic direction.

Deputy Murray said even agreeing a direction was too risky with the island's finances as perilous as they are.

"We're given several options to consider for step changes in how we prepare for and deliver our energy needs. It could have one of the most far reaching impacts on our economy for decades to come," he said. 

"The Strategy put some high level costs against key infrastructure and there are some very large sums of money, and while there is no specific request for any capital sum today, the Strategy makes clear that whatever pathway is chosen we are talking about hundreds of millions of pounds of investment."

Estimates put potential investment in the Electricity Strategy at £200m+ over the next twenty years.

Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, President of E&I said those costs are not relevant at this stage, because she was not asking to fund the Strategy now.

She argued that everything else on the GWP was debated by the States before its inclusion and that the finances linked to each project are still not confirmed.

"It's just not relevant," she said. "All the other things in the GWP have already been debated. That's why it makes sense to debate the Electricity Strategy so we know where it sits." 

She lost the argument on the day with 19 deputies backing the Sursis and agreeing to debate the Electricity Strategy in September.

15 voted against and three abstained.


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