Here are two islands. Both are British. Off each island are good quality tidal flows. One island, however, has particularly strong tidal flows, getting on for as strong as one of the world’s strongest flows, in the Pentland Firth in Scotland. Both islands are now looking to develop marine farms harnessing those flows to produce electricity for the National Grid. Both islands need to connect to the National Grid via a subsea interconnector. One island has an existing but underpowered interconnector: the other is at an advanced state of negotiation to build a powerful interconnector that links the island to France and the UK, and links its tidal stream array programme into the grid in the process. The two islands are the Isle of Wight, British through and through, and looking to develop a 30MW array 2.5km off the south of the island in a joint development between Perpetuus Energy and the Isle of Wight council. Good for them: it looks like it will work really well. The other one is Alderney. Alderney Renewable energy are promoting the FAB Link, one of the interconnectors identified by the Government as promoting greater resilience for the UK system, and proceeding well through the process of gaining agreements with Ofgem, National Grid and with their French equivalents. The Link would be from a site neat Cherbourg to Alderney, and then to a landing point near Exeter. Feeding into this could be the product of the Alderney Race tidal array, initially comprising a consented 150 turbines about a mile off Alderney, and coming to about 300MW but with the prospect of an eventual 3GW deployment – which would be about the installed capacity of Hinkley C power station (if it gets built, that is). The Isle of Wight is a county authority and really ‘British’ (and therefore gets to bid for a CfD) whereas Alderney, not far away, counts as British but not British, in that it is a ‘crown dependency’, and therefore doesn’t get to bid for a CfD because that privilege is reserved for, well you know, proper British places. In fact, I understand that the Secretary of State has written to Alderney Energy telling them that there is no go at the moment on a possible CfD because of the not-really-British problem. The fact that the development could have a huge impact on the UK’s electricity market and that Alderney WANT the power to go to Britain because they are, well, British as far as they are concerned is, I suppose, beside the point.
Alan Whitehead’s Blog 15th July 2016 read more »