UK universities helping Guernsey research macro renewable marine energy opportunities

December 7th, 2011 by States of Guernsey Commerce and Employment Department

The States of Guernsey Commerce and Employment Department (C&E) is forging strategic and long term alliances with leading UK Universities to progress macro renewable energy in Guernsey’s waters.

This initiative will involve multiple research projects from various Universities focused on Guernsey’s marine renewable energy resource. It is intended to be the start of a long term alliance with select universities to ensure Guernsey is well placed to benefit from a lasting legacy from any renewable energy industry.

C&E, through a subgroup called the “Renewable Energy Team” (RET), has the remit to progress Guernsey’s potential local renewable energy supplies and it  covers all large scale renewable projects in the marine environment  and it is investigating all forms of marine renewable including tidal , wave and wind power.

RET has teamed up with the Universities of Exeter, Plymouth and Cranfield which have world leading academics and departments plus significant experience in all areas of renewable energy. RET would welcome working with other leading Universities and is already in discussions with some.

Deputy Robert Sillars, Chairman of RET said: “RET is looking at all areas of macro renewable energy in Guernsey. Teaming up with leading Universities with expertise in renewable energy has multiple benefits to Guernsey. Guernsey will benefit from their expertise which will assist the understanding of our marine renewable resources. Using high quality postgraduate students and academics means we can stretch our modest budget, which is even more important than ever and still have first rate research. We are also particularly pleased that a local student who is studying for a post graduate degree in the UK will be part of this work and backs up our aim of using local expertise wherever possible.”

Dr Lars Johanning from the University of Exeter commented commented: “We are delighted to be working with Guernsey on these projects which should be the start of a long term strategic alliance. The University of Exeter has a reputation for world-class research  in renewable energy,  which complements Guernsey’s potential for generating energy from marine renewable sources .”

University of Exeter deploying a wave rider buoy (click image to expand - image courtesy of Dr. Lars Johanning, senior lecturer in renewable energy)

Professor Martin Attrill, Director of the Marine Institute at Plymouth University stated “The exciting partnership between Plymouth University and Guernsey will be key for developing tidal energy around the island and beyond, particularly understanding the environmental and socio-economic impacts of such developments.”

The Marine Institute of Plymouth University deploying their Seaeye ROV (click image to expand - image courtesy of the Marine Institute at Plymouth University)

“The University benefits from the opportunity to further develop our tidal energy research in the very interesting geographical area around Guernsey, enhancing the experience we can offer our students and academics, whilst also providing RET with access to the unparalleled range of expertise within our Marine Institute and robust data to allow Guernsey’s renewable energy industry to move forward,” Professor Attrill said.

The Marine Institute at Plymouth University investigates the seabed using a HD video camera mounted on a towed 'flying array'. The equipment was deployed in a tidal stream energy site in Guernsey waters. (click image to expand - image courtesy of the Marine Institute at Plymouth University)

Dr Stuart Wagland, Project Leader for Renewable Energy at Cranfield said: “It is important that Guernsey progresses renewable energy in a strategic and long term way and Cranfield can assist in this with significant expertise in this area. Marine renewable energy is still very new and relatively expensive; it is an industry which will not happen overnight as careful planning and feasibility studies are required; with regards to this, C&E and RET are taking a sensible long term view.”

Many of the University projects regarding Guernsey have already started but will be based in the UK institutions initially with some local field work in 2012. The topics are varied and cover all the potential renewable resources of wind, wave and tidal as well as investigations into how any developments may affect the local population and environment.

In time further engagement with the islanders will take place to gauge their views on any developments. There is also work on how any long term roll out of renewable energy is carried out in a strategic and planned way.

Projects will also look at the economic models to ensure that any environmental objectives are in alignment with the reality that renewable energy is more expensive and with this fact it is key to ensure Guernsey remains a competitive island economy.

Fiona Naftel, CEO of the Guernsey Training Agency said “the GTA supports this excellent initiative from the Department of Commerce and Employment and the Renewable Energy Team”

“It is important that Guernsey is linked with leading institutions to further knowledge and expertise locally in an industry which could play a role in the future of the Guernsey economy in the long term. Initially the GTA can assist in providing facilities to local and visiting students as well as links with Universities.”

RET has identified that Guernsey needs to start positioning itself now to try and benefit in many ways from renewable energy in the future.

Robert Sillars added “in the long term Guernsey will be able to use renewable energy from its own resources. In addition to low carbon energy from a more secure supply we see that Guernsey has the potential to be a centre of excellence for the research and educational aspects associated with renewable energy – we can build up significant intellectual property in Guernsey around renewable energy and sowing seeds with Universities now should reap rewards in the future. This would also be aligned with Commerce and Employment’s and Guernsey’s strategic objectives of having high value added diversified industries in Guernsey.”


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