Thursday, 4 December 2014

Electricity and Explosions in the Bailiwick of Guernsey

I’ve been looking at some stories in the Guernsey Press recently on Alderney and Sark.

Is the future for Alderney electrifying?
“A FRENCH tidal power project which would pave the way for a much larger scheme in Alderney waters moved a step closer yesterday. Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, announced that following a rigorous selection process, naval shipbuilding giant DCNS had been chosen to partner in the development of a pilot tidal turbine array off the coast of Normandy. ”

“The project will see the installation of seven tidal turbines in the Raz Blanchard which will stay there for 20 years. Alderney Renewable Energy, which is part-owned by Open Hydro, a DCNS company, wants to build a 150-turbine 300MW tidal array in the powerful currents of the Alderney Race by 2020. That project would also see a France to Alderney to Britain inter-connector installed under the Channel.”

This news about Alderney is most welcome – with the Island transport links already fragmented and the population in quite steep decline, Alderney needs some commercial incentives and a boost to the economy to draw people there.

If Alderney can benefit from tidal power, it may well also be in a position to sell power cheaply to the other Channel Islands, putting its economy on a firm footing, and perhaps being able to subsidise better transport links.

One of the comments on the Guernsey website was as follows:

“Good on Alderney for having the bottle to see a golden opportunity - shame guernsey politicials have done nothing but prevaricate over alternative power. A shame but what we've come to expect.”

In Jersey, the late Dan Murphy, Constable of Grouville, was Chair of the Tidal Steering Group, tasked with looking into energy from maritime resources. I don’t know what has happened to that since his death, but whatever has been going on has been so low key it could well have sunk without trace. Nothing has appeared in the media.

Here is surely an opportunity to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on a critical lifeline to France for our electricity, but since 2011, I can find no mention of “Jersey Tidal Group”. There is a January 2011 document entitled “Tidal Power for Jersey: The Next Steps”, but this seems to have turned into a dawdle, if not stationery.

Technology has moved on considerably since 2011, when it was deemed too expensive, and perhaps now is the time for a second look.

Explosive Times in Sark
“AT LEAST 60 German mines - a number of which are live and filled with explosives -were yesterday uncovered by bomb disposal experts in Sark. Two officers, Simon Hamon and Stuart Allan, have today been digging out the buried Second World War S-mines, found in a field near the Belair pub when they were ploughed over the day before. The number of mines, which each contain 360 ball bearings, remains unknown, as they continue to find more buried deeper. Pc Hamon said they had never come across such a large quantity of mines in one area - including around a dozen that were live.”

Isn’t it extraordinary that even today, nearly 70 years after the end of the Second World War, we are still finding mines or unexplosed shells in the Channel Islands

Of course, given the recent decision to close all the Barclay Brother’s hotels in Sark next year, this has prompted a flurry of comments:

Whispers from that bastion of truth the "Sark Newspaper" say these mines were planted by the Seigneur's stormtroopers in response to the recent hotel closures.

It`s a Barclay`s message, Sark`s MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE, and the sooner you all realise that then the sooner we reopen Sark.

Throw them at Brecqhou.

Shouldn't Sark invite Mrs Merkel to send over a few disposal officers? I'm, not sure why Channel Islanders should take that risk on. "After all, Miss - THEY started it..."

(and maybe they could give Michael Beaumont a few tips on running a regime like 1930s Germany, while they were around?)
I wonder if the Barclay brothers have a sense of humour. The Barclay Brothers funded Sark Newspaper, which Private eye recently reports on, likens the Seigneur, Michael Beaumont to a Nazi ruler. Two recent examples will suffice:

“Most German civil servants were willing to accept and work with the new regime, which made a strong appeal to the nationalist, anti-democratic, authoritarian traditions of the service.” “Civil servants were prominent among those seeking to insure their positions and pensions by joining the Nazi Party.”* Sark’s civil servants are willing to accept and work with Michael Beaumont’s regime for the same reason.-

“With clear parallels to 1930’s Germany, Mr Beaumont and his feudal fundamentalist supporters dis- tort reality and manipulate the truth into lies and propaganda in order to discredit and criminalise people with opposing views as well as to persuade Islanders and the world at large that Sark’s par- ticular form of feudalism is merely a benign tradition and that the recent rounds of law reforms have given the People of Sark democracy - when these reforms in effect have enhanced the autocratic feu- dal lord’s already considerable powers.”

I wonder if anyone takes this nonsense seriously. In the normal course of events, it would probably be seen as the ravings of a political crank, but as it appears to be funded by the Barclay Brothers, it gets airtime, although none of this relentless diatribe ever finds its way into the more sober Barclay owned Daily Telegraph, Now isn’t that odd?

1 comment:

Dizzy Ringo said...

Dan wanted the Tidal Group to avoid being subject to political whims. He was also aware that it was a long term project and not a jam today project. As I understood it there were a number of things going on but nothing to broadcast from the heights yet. The new Minister of Planning may know more.