Guernsey Electricity, with the support of the Guernsey States’ Trading Supervisory Board, has agreed that, if necessary, it will reduce the amount of energy it imports from Europe this winter, in response to the energy crisis on the continent.
Through its supply agreement with Electricité de France, the company will, if requested, generate more electricity using the Vale power station for local consumption and lower the energy imported through the subsea cable from the European grid. At the same time, Guernsey Electricity is asking Islanders to think about their own energy usage during this time
Alan Bates (pictured), Guernsey Electricity’s CEO, confirmed that there were a number of considerations which led to the decision. He said: “We want to be a good neighbour and help Europe during this energy crisis, as many countries are starting to introduce stringent measures to restrict consumption.
“Whilst we deploy the power station every winter during times of peak demand, there was a need for us to carefully consider the support we provide alongside the environmental impact of further utilising the diesel generators.”
The Guernsey States’ Trading Supervisory Board (STSB) said any support the island can give to help alleviate Europe’s energy crisis this winter should be welcomed. STSB president Deputy Peter Roffey said that while it was likely to make only a small difference, it was important for Guernsey to act responsibly within the context of the current global geo-political situation.
Deputy Roffey said: “We have an opportunity for Guernsey to play its part in responding to the effects of the current energy crisis and act as a good-neighbour to its counterparts in France and Western Europe more widely.”
Under such arrangements Guernsey Electricity would be reimbursed for the costs created by reducing imports and thus supporting the availability of power in Europe and potentially may benefit financially from any requirement to increase generation on-island. The STSB said this was welcome, and could help to offset future price increases, but at the moment that was a secondary consideration. Deputy Roffey explained: “Currently there are much greater issues to consider, nevertheless any financial benefit is welcome. It is in no way certain, but if it does materialise we would be supportive of any such proceeds being used to strengthen Guernsey Electricity’s financial position. That would provide a potential buffer for local customers to partially offset against future commodity price increases.”
Alongside the support for European countries, Islanders are also being asked to play their part in supporting the impact of the energy crisis if required by reducing their usage of electricity, specifically between the peak times of 5pm and 7pm. By reducing demand during these hours, particularly when the weather is cold, they will be reducing the scale of the problem across Europe.
The company has also moved to reassure all local customers that it has sufficient supplies, equipment and staff to meet the Island’s demands for energy and no planned power cuts are expected due to capacity issues.
Guernsey Electricity has confirmed that the decision to provide energy capacity in the European market will be made on a daily basis and the degree to which it generates locally depends on supply and demand issues across the continent. Weather is a significant factor which will impact on demand and also price and therefore the need for Guernsey Electricity to generate additional power.