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Category: States Assembly

Offshore Wind Farms a ‘Game Changer for Jersey’

Mar 09, 2023

On Wednesday 08 March 2023, the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel held a Quarterly Public Hearing with the Minister for the Environment, Deputy Jonathan Renouf.

The Panel questioned the Minister on Jersey’s climate change resilience, renewable energy plans and the Marine Spatial Plan. The Minister described offshore utility scale renewable energy installations (offshore wind farms) as a ‘game changer for Jersey’ which would hold huge economic potential for the Island as a producer and exporter of renewable energy. He added, however, that such a project will be an intensely complex process with large risks involved if not properly executed. The Panel expressed concern about the potential impact of offshore wind farms on Jersey’s fishing industry. The Minister assured the Panel that ‘the overarching strategy is for sustainable fisheries’ and that the Future Energy Ministerial Working Group that has been established to facilitate cross ministerial work will be closelyworking with stakeholders to look for the best solution for all. The Minister aims to have a draft Marine Spatial Plan in place by mid-summer, followed by redrafting after consultations. The aim of the Marine Spatial Plan is ‘to support Jersey’s maritime management and ensure that the Island's marine "estate” is being used to its best economic advantage while also protecting biodiversity, geodiversity, cultural assets, and important natural habitats’.

In questioning the Minister on the Bridging Island Plan, the Panel expressed concern on the ability of the Government to deliver an upgraded foul sewerage network that will meet the housing development needs of the Island as well as extra pressures induced by climate change. The Minister described ‘significant bottlenecks’ and a ‘historic backlog of under-investment’ of the Island’s sewerage infrastructure. The Minister said ‘tens of millions a year’ will be needed to improve the sewerage infrastructure, which will need to be funded through a range of measures such as reallocating existing funds, taxation, and private contributions. These views echo those expressed by the Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Tom Binet, in a Public Hearing in November 2022, in which he talked about several ‘pinch points’ in relation to liquid waste management and said the Department for Infrastructure, Housing and Environment was running on a ‘survival budget’. 

The Chair of the Panel, Deputy Steve Luce, commented: ‘The Panel was interested to hear about the plans the Minister is considering for renewable energy solutions and looks forward to the development of a robust and well-considered Marine Spatial Plan. We are, however, increasingly concerned to hear of the growing capacity issues with the Island’s sewerage and drainage network and the impact this will have on both climate change resilience and delivery of new housing developments. This will be an area we will be investigating further with Ministers.’ 

A full recording of the public hearing can be watched here.

States Assembly Press Notice

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