Jersey's Climate Questions: How do we make our energy usage greener?

Jersey has committed to going carbon neutral by 2030 and has formed a Citizen's Assembly to help decide how to achieve that.

More than 30% of the island's greenhouse gas emissions come from powering our homes and businesses.

What is Jersey's current energy provision?

What's being done to reduce energy consumption?

Around 10% of homes and businesses still have gas which is a fossil fuel and has a high carbon footprint. There are initiatives to help people make the switch to electric but it can be costly and currently there is no financial help from government. There used to funding for older people to improve their home insulation, but this is no longer available.

Now there is only a £250 grant is available to get a energy efficiency home audit. There is also advice available to limit your energy usage at home, for example by using energy efficient LED lightbulbs and switching off your appliances when they are not in use.

Most properties in Jersey are now fitted with a smart meter and Jersey has brought out a new app that works alongside the meters to help monitor your energy usage.

What are the renewable alternatives?

Although the island's electricity supply is largely decarbonised, the use of nuclear power remains controversial because of safety concerns and the environmental impact of the radioactive waste it produces.

However, the technology used in nuclear power generation has become a lot safer and accidents are rare.

According to Our World Data (2021) there have been fewer deaths caused by nuclear energy production than from coal, oil or gas.

The majority of nuclear fuel can be recycled and only small amounts of high-level radioactive waste are generated (around 3% according to the World Nuclear Association).

There are also concerns about the island's energy independence long term.

With its abundance of natural resources, the UK's Shadow Energy Minister, Dr Alan Whitehead, believes the island could become self-sufficient and even export its own renewable energy supply.

Solar panels are being developed as an alternative on-island renewable energy source.

Earlier this year Jersey Electricity installed the largest array on the roof of Jersey Dairy which will be able to power 135 homes a year.

Other renewable options have been slower to get off the ground.

Monitoring stations were set up at the Ecrehous and the Minquiers to assess the viability in 2013 but since then there have been no moves towards it.

An opportunity to invest and share in the new Saint-Brieuc wind farm off the coast of France was turned down a few years later.

Tidal power has also been investigated as an option but was ruled out in 2018 after a report found it 'wouldn't be financially viable'. However, the government's Director of Environmental Policy, Dr Louise Magris, says the development of on-island renewable energy has not been ruled out.

Currently though they cannot be solely relied upon for the generation of power because of their intermittency. There is also a concern that there is not a battery big enough to store the power generated via renewable sources, and that can hinder how it is used.

What are your ideas for making our energy usage greener?

You can join in the discussion online via Jersey's Climate Conversation.