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Tidal trouble revealed at people's meeting

Posted Thu 6th November 2008 at 09:38

Alderney's plan to bring forward its tidal power project has hit a snag.

A legal issue flagged up by the States' law officers has caused project leaders Alderney Renewable Energy (ARE) to refuse to sign a fresh agreement which would allow them to develop the island's tidal resource two years earlier than expected.

States member Colin Williams revealed the development at last night's people's meeting, which was attended by around 70 islanders.

Mr Williams said ARE, the company hoping to develop tidal energy in The Race, off Longis Bay, with Irish tidal turbine experts OpenHydro, is refusing to sign the new deal after law officers insisted a side letter concerning a pilot scheme must be included in the wording of the latest agreement.

"In the 2005 agreement ARE was required to provide equipment capable of generating 500MW hours of electricity in six months. Under the original agreement, they would have been granted a master power generation licence had they delivered," said Mr Williams.

"However, as a result of OpenHydro's trials at the European Marine Energy Centre, it was agreed to change the requirement of 500MW hours in six months.

"The turbines would still be deployed under the new agreement but the output from them would be connected and then fed into Alderney's grid. If that was accomplished, the licence would then be issued."

Mr Williams said the law officers had flagged up the issue in the last 24 hours.

He added: "It now transpires, for legal reasons, that this cannot be included in a letter. It has to go in the main agreement and ARE has refused to accept the change."

Chief executive David Jeremiah reassured the public the new agreement could still be signed after next Monday's States meeting.

"We have to be a bit careful about this. We have to strike a balance between normal confidentiality and the duty of government.

"However, we could resolve this by Monday. It could still go ahead."

Paul Clark, ARE's chief executive, told the Journal he hoped the situation could be resolved before the States vote on the issue next week.

A public meeting concerning the project was held last week and included details on why the scheme could be brought forward two years.

Gordon Fitton, chairman of the Alderney Commission for Renewable Energy, said ARE had been given the opportunity to supply the French grid with 600MW of electricity and that they needed to gain a licence from the States in order to sell energy developed in Alderney waters.

The States was due to vote on whether to grant ARE its licence on November 10. Mr Jeremiah assured the public the States meeting would still go ahead, whatever happens between now and Monday.

Related stories:

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The Guernsey Bereavement Service has made three visits to Alderney over the past few months and would like to continue to help you. We are visiting the island again on Tuesday, 23rd February 2024 and would invite anyone who feels they would like Bereavement Counselling to telephone the Bereavement Service Office on 257778 to make a time to meet one of our counsellors.

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