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Politicians vote to go ahead with Jersey wind farm project

States members have agreed to pursue the idea of an offshore wind farm project in Jersey's southwestern waters.

The Council of Ministers called the debate to decide whether to progress the idea of an offshore wind farm, which could generate six times the island's current energy needs.

Environment Minister Steve Luce told States members that supporting the proposition today would give our neighbouring jurisdictions and partners confidence.

He continued to say supporting the plans does not commit Jersey to building a wind farm.

"It does not commit us to excessive expenditure. It does not bind us into any relationships with third parties.

Other than agreeing on a location and the approximate cap on the size of the development, we can agree on the proposition today and keep all the other doors open."

The landmark vote passed by 40-1, with only Deputy Max Andrews opposing it.

Economic Development Minister, Kirsten Morel

Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel favours the plans, saying the project would create new opportunities for the island.

"Our economic position requires us to be bold, we cannot be timid.

"Our economic situation requires us to find solutions so that young people can choose to live their lives in Jersey, because if they don't then older generations will not get the health and social care that they need. That's the situation we're in.

"If we choose to be timid we're failing this island. Now's the time to be bold."

Similarly, Housing Minister Sam Mezec says his party, Reform Jersey, is committed to the benefits renewable energy gives the island

"We are committed to this, and the long-term project is one that we would wish to support.

Visualisation of the offshore wind farm

Around 95% of Jersey's electricity is imported from France, using three multi-million pound supply cables.

Two-thirds of the energy is generated from nuclear power courses and the rest from hydroelectricity.

The offshore wind farm could supply one GigaWatt of energy, equating to around 3,800 GigaWatt hours of electricity.

Currently, the island only uses 1664 GWh of energy, 636 GWh of which is electricity.

Former Environment Minister Jonathan Renouf brought the idea to light in October 2023, suggesting the excess electricity be sold to neighbouring jurisdictions.

Deputy Jonathan Renouf of St Brelade

The proposal garnered a mixed response from people across the Channel Islands.

Guernsey's Environment and Infrastructure President, Lindsay de Sausmarez said it could benefit both islands:

"I am very excited by the potential. It's certainly worth exploring the opportunity of working in tandem with Jersey, or potentially with them in some respect because they are looking at that bigger commercially sized array."

There was a strong response to a public consultation, with more than 70% of people who answered the survey feeling positively about the project.

The consultation lasted four months, and 75% of respondents believed it essential to grow Jersey's economy and create new jobs.

Environment Minister, Deputy Steve Luce

One in seven people though having the wind farm as an extra income source would massively benefit the public purse.

However,  65% raised concerns about the impact on wildlife, the project's cost, the speed of construction, the visual impact and the government's ability to deliver it.

Today's vote means the Council of Ministers will continue work on developing a wind power project.

Deputy Luce described it as a 'vote that shows confidence in what might be, to see what the future could hold."

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