CLIMATE change is, of course, a global issue. Being in a small island, it can often feel that any changes we make will not make much of a difference but, as we are connected to the European grid through multiple sub-marine cables, this could not be further from the truth.
Imported power to Jersey consists of a mix of one third renewable hydro sources and two thirds nuclear sources which are low-carbon but not renewable. On a macro level, every unit of renewable energy generated in Jersey potentially avoids the import of a low-carbon unit. This, in turn, makes that low-carbon unit available to someone else in Europe who might otherwise use electricity generated from fossil fuels.
Channel-Island-owned energy assets located in Europe would be the only exception to importing power which does not result in us simply benefitting from a system without giving anything back. French supplies make up a vital base load of energy for Jersey but what are we doing in return?
If we look at things on a local level, the energy created by using solar on your roof is used primarily to power your property. Sometimes you will generate excess power and that will be purchased by Jersey Electricity and redistributed through the local grid, specifically in the properties nearest to you that have an immediate requirement. Therefore, the power you are generating is directly benefitting your local community, usually those who live directly next door.
As the ‘sunniest place in the British Isles’, with high coastal winds and one of the largest tidal ranges in the world, Jersey should aspire to be a net exporter of renewable energy and maybe even use it to manufacture some ‘green hydrogen’ too.
Tidal energy will, however, be a very expensive and long-term vision but more solar power is ready to go now and keeps us on the road to eventually becoming a net renewables contributor.