FAQ'S - When? How? Why? How Much?


The speed at which renewable energy will be developed in Guernsey is dependent on a number of factors, depending on the renewable energy source (wind, wave and/or tidal) and the specific technology that is preferred in the waters around the island. All offshore devices would also be limited by cable laying lead in time, with the ships required to lay offshore cables currently being booked for 2 or more years in the future.

Wind energy is a relatively “mature” technology which means that devices have been deployed at an array scale in numerous locations around the world. The offshore devices now range commercially from 2MW to 5MW, with larger devices being proposed for further offshore. The 3MW devices, as covered in the Feasibility Study into Offshore Wind Energy (in Guernsey waters), are likely to be available in the short term, and so in theory could be installed in the second half of this decade. This, however, depends on there not being any backlog from other developments, such as the UK round 3 project. Wind is going to be the “fastest” available of the technologies as it is already commercial.

Wave and tidal stream energy are both still at the advanced R&D phase of development, and so they are going to require longer to be available at a commercial scale. As there are currently no wave or tidal stream “arrays” of several units present anywhere in the world, estimating timing for when they could be deployed in Guernsey waters is difficult. It is unlikely that Guernsey will become a test site for the devices, so that limits the time to when they are commercially available. There are plans for arrays of 10s of MW in places such as the North of Scotland. However it is unlikely that wave and tidal energy would be available in Guernsey prior to 2020, although if there were a sudden step change in the speed of development Guernsey is in a position to adopt wave and tidal at an earlier date.

In summary, only wind appears viable in the next few years, but Guernsey is well placed to react should that situation change.


RET is working with both local experts and UK Universities to get an understanding of the resource available around Guernsey, how the waters are used currently and how renewable energy may impact upon those activities and the environment in general. The REA was just the first step in this process, to identify potential impacts, highlight potential mitigations and to highlight any data gaps for further investigation. The REA was publicly consulted on, and public consultation will continue as well as publication of the documents that RET work on.

The aim is to have a detailed understanding of the environment that the devices will be deployed in to ensure informed decisions can be taken by RET, and in time, GREC and to ensure the public is kept informed.

RET is also putting together the legislation that will enable Guernsey to regulate renewable energy within its waters. This is essential as the legislation not only allows regulation of the industry, but also forms a part of the streamlined application process that RET are keen to have in place.

Currently RET believe that a competitive tender is likely once the technologies reach commercial scale. The application process will require a potential developer to submit a full environmental impact assessment and to outline any potential mitigation that may be needed. The application process and regulation will be undertaken by GREC once it is constituted under the law.


In addition to reducing our own carbon emissions, Marine Renewable Energy will give us greater independence regarding the cost and security of our energy. When we are able to arrange for deployment of more than one array, we will be able to look at generating revenue from the export of energy to Europe. It may also provide an opportunity to diversify Guernsey’s economy.

There will also be considerable work required through the operational life of renewable energy projects to inspect and maintain the equipment. Depending on the types of devices and the activities required, some of this may be carried out from existing port facilities. If this is found to be the case, then there is the potential for employment opportunities to be created.

RET are also working on how best to position Guernsey to benefit from a long term positive legacy for Guernsey in addition to the generation of renewable energy. Examples are setting up a Guernsey University/research facility; developing local “know how” (Intellectual Property) and also using local financial services skills in relation to renewables.


Renewable energy is generally more expensive than electricity generated from traditional sources such as fossil fuels or nuclear, with marine renewable energy more expensive, for a number of reasons. How expensive varies by type of renewable and technology and this is affected by a number of factors including number of units deployed worldwide. As such onshore wind costs have reduced dramatically, solar costs are falling but wave and tidal costs remain high, but should fall in the future.

This is why many jurisdictions (including many EU countries) have subsidies/incentives for renewable energy. Guernsey does not have such subsidies but if Guernsey is to have macro renewable energy in the future it is likely that some sort of subsidy will be needed.

Prices of marine renewables are likely to come down in the future as prices of other traditional energies are likely to rise meaning that renewable will become relatively more affordable in the future.