Windfarm work due to resume in March

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A MAJOR project to build a 62-turbine windfarm just outside the Island’s territorial waters is due to resume in March.

Some of the 205-metre-high (672ft) turbines are expected to be visible from areas such as Corbière and the Minquiers – the latter of which will be a few miles away from the development.

Ailes-Marines, the company behind the windfarm, visited Jersey in 2016 as part of a public consultation into the project.

In November, the firm announced that it had finished the first phase of work – drilling holes underwater for five wind-turbine sites and an electrical substation.

The company now plans to drill further holes from March next year and aims to complete the project towards the end of 2023.

The windfarm is expected to generate enough power for 835,000 people and supply 496 megawatts to the French grid, from which the Island draws 95% of its energy.

However, the project has not gone without opposition. During its early stages, Ailes-Marines faced a legal challenge from two firms which allegedly also tendered for the work.

More recently, just over a month after French fishing vessels blockaded the Island’s Harbour in a dispute over licences, a fleet of French boats congregated at the site as part of a protest against its construction.

During the demonstration, crews gathered around the Aethra ship and fired a barrage of warning flares towards it. Some of the vessels have since been fined up to 3,000 euros for being too close to the drilling vessel and for improperly using emergency flares.

The chairman of the area’s fisheries committee said skippers felt indignant at the decision. Speaking to Le Marin, he said: ‘The right to demonstrate at sea has been violated. Ashore, such fines would never have been imposed because no material damage was caused.’

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