A meteorological mast is to be erected off the Channel Island of Jersey this September, in part to provide the island’s government with information about the offshore wind resource within its jurisdiction. Jersey meteorological department’s application to erect the met mast was approved last week.
The possibility of an offshore wind farm being proposed for Jersey waters is one reason for the application, Tony Pallot, principal meteorological officer, told Windpower Offshore.
Once a met mast is in place and collecting information, the island’s leaders will "have some initial data to inform any project proposal", he said. Another driver is the need to provide real-time weather data to improve vessel safety, added Pallot.
The met mast will be installed 3km from the main island of the Écréhous - a series of uninhabited islands and rocks off Jersey. It will be located 6km from the main island of the Minquiers, another series of uninhabited formations.
Late last year, Jersey’s government published a draft long-term energy policy, Pathway 2050: An energy plan for Jersey. It proposes an 80% emissions reduction target for the island (based on 1990 emissions levels) and transition toward reliance on "secure, affordable and sustainable energy". If adopted, the plan would see the island’s minister for planning and environment investigate the potential for "utility scale renewable energy generation". Currently, most of Jersey’s primary energy is imported, making the island vulnerable to volatility in fossil fuel pricing.
No offshore wind projects have yet been proposed off Jersey. Thus far, there has been more focus on the potential offered by tidal energy than wind, noted Pallot. Neighbouring Guernsey is considering a 100MW offshore wind project and has updated its environmental impact assessmetn regulations in preparation.