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Tidal power - A reality for Jersey ?

17 December 2008

The Tidal Power Steering Group, chaired by Constable Dan Murphy has published its findings. The group was established by the Minister for Environment and Planning to investigate, the potential contribution tidal power might make to Jersey ’s energy requirements.

Constable Murphy said ‘The Group has unanimously concluded that tidal power could make a real and increasing contribution to the energy requirements and security of the Island for the rest of this century. The technology in this area is moving ahead at pace and we believe that Jersey’s waters offer an opportunity for us to harness significant amounts of renewable energy both for Jersey but also potentially for export to European markets. We have recommended to the Minister that the States should set up a qualified group to move ahead with all deliberate speed, in particular, carrying out the critical environmental investigations as well as developing the legislative and commercial framework necessary to attract resource developers to our waters. Other Channel Islands are making significant progress and Jersey should open negotiations with our neighbouring jurisdictions to explore potential collaborations both in harnessing the resource and selling to potential markets’

Senator Cohen has replied ‘I warmly welcome this report and look forward to meeting with the Tidal Power Steering Group in the New Year to discuss their recommendations in depth. However, in the meantime I would like to express my thanks to the Group for their hard work in completing this very significant report and bringing this important issue to the top of the energy agenda’                                                                           -ends-


Notes to Editors:

1. For further information, please contact Constable Daniel Murphy 07797723008 or 857610

2. Members of the Tidal Power Steering Group are :

  • Constable Daniel Murphy (Chairman);
  • Sir Nigel Broomfield (Independent);
  • Deputy Rob Duhamel;
  • Deputy Sean Power ;
  • Alick Macintosh (Icecap Ltd, Carbon Trading);
  • David Padfield (Jersey Electricity Company).

      Officer support was from

    • Chris Newton (Director for the Environment);
    • Dr. Louise Magris (Assistant Director for Environmental Policy).

          3. Key conclusions

        The Group are unanimous in believing that tidal power could, in the medium term, make a real and increasing contribution to the energy requirements and security of the Island for the rest of this century.  They therefore have no hesitation in recommending that the possibility should be actively pursued.


        Key conclusions from the report:

          1.       This is a long term project.

        2.       It would be preferable to make agreements with the other Channel Islands to exploit, on a collective basis, the tidal resources available to them all;

        3.       But that, in any case, Jersey should proceed with those partners who are willing to share the advantages and costs on an equitable basis;

        4.       When Jersey has a clear idea of how it wishes to take this forward, talks should be opened with EDF as a potentially valuable partner capable of taking surplus tidally generated power onto the French grid as part of the French commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to provide 20% of their national requirements from renewable resources;

        5.       Jersey could invite expressions of interest from potential commercial/industrial partners on the basis that the selected partner would pay for the initial studies to confirm that the tides around Jersey’s shores are of sufficient strength and breadth to justify an investment.  On this basis Jersey would have to expect that any partner proceeding to the exploitation phase would require a greater share of the profits having taken a greater share of the financial risk;

        6.       Alternatively Jersey could invest a sum of money in the order of £0.5 m to commission such first stage studies and thereby have control of the ‘intellectual property’ concerning the tides around Jersey.  Such an investment would place Jersey in a more advantageous position at any subsequent negotiations;

        The Group’s overall recommendation is that the States should set up a qualified group with the mandate to move ahead with all deliberate speed to :

        1.       Commission the necessary research into the exploitability of the tides around Jersey including an environmental impact study;

        2.       Expend up to £0.5 m to pay for such studies;

        3.       Open talks with the other Channel Islands to see if there is willingness in principle to join in a collaborative effort to exploit tidal resources;

        4.       Open talks with EDF about possible future forms of partnership when the initial studies are complete;

        5.       Open talks with the relevant UK authorities.

        6.       Invite expressions of interest from private sector partners;

        7.       Produce a costed plan which indicates the investment needed and the rewards which could be expected, the timescale in which such rewards could be realised, and how such a scheme might compare with renewable energy generated from other sources.

        The skills set and experience that the Group should include are, inter alia: commercial contract negotiation; legal and/or regulatory experience; international negotiation, understanding and knowledge of the renewable energy industry and of the energy system in Jersey and the Channel Isles more widely.

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