Guernsey: Renewable Energy

Last Updated: 11 March 2013
Article by Wayne Atkinson and Kit Hobbs

Wayne Atkinson and Kit Hobbs from Collas Crill examine the long-mooted opportunities for the development of alternative sources of energy in Guernsey and their potential impacts and strength of continuing innovation in the jurisdiction.

Alternative sources of energy are now firmly on the agenda of businesses, governments and individuals the world over. While public opinion is split over the issue, the call to address the energy impact on the planet grows ever stronger.

Although for the past few decades it has been the renewable industry itself that has been less than "sustainable" - with the cost of implementing and maintaining renewable energy infrastructure having been prohibitively high - it is becoming clear to many that the industry is a worthy and expanding investment prospect.

Emerging technology needs support from government and business, as well as a base for research and development. To assist with developments in the science of alternative energy, Guernsey is uniquely placed to cater for all stages of the implementation of this new technology.

The World Energy Outlook 2012, by the International Energy Agency, notes that renewables could overtake coal as the world's primary source of power generation by the year 2035 so it is clear that significant investment will be made in this field over the coming decades. In this regard Guernsey is a jurisdiction that is uniquely placed to capitalise on and structure such investments.

The Bailiwick of Guernsey's geographical positioning makes it ideally suited as a place both to test and implement renewable energy technology. The Bailiwick comprises the larger islands of Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, as well as some smaller islands. It has among the largest tidal ranges in the world and studies have indicated the local waters may prove ideally suited to this technology.

The islands' waters also seem well suited to the development of offshore wind production and this is also being investigated by the Renewable Energy Team established by the local government, the States of Guernsey. Additionally, the islands' lower latitude compared with the rest of the UK makes domestic solar production a viable proposition.

There is much current expertise in the various fields connected to renewable energy across the Channel Islands, particularly in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. A notable leader with respect to tidal power is Alderney Renewable Energy Limited, known as ARE, which is developing a turbine array to capture energy in the coastal waters off Alderney.

It also aims to develop its export markets for energy, having worked with international partners and the governments of both the UK and France, to enable it to transmit generated electricity onward to the South of England along an electricity inter-connector cable known as the FAB Link (for France-Alderney- Britain).

But it is Guernsey's corporate and finance expertise and legislative infrastructure that truly make it the perfect "one-stop shop" to finance, structure and run renewable energy projects both locally and around the world.

As a leading offshore finance centre, Guernsey has expertise at every level. Its corporate service providers are able to cheaply and easily set up and administer renewable start-ups. The island's companies legislation makes the establishment of joint ventures and differing classes of shares for investors relatively simple. Guernsey also offers the possibility of cell companies (innovated by Guernsey in 1997) to allow businesses to easily segregate the risks of differing technologies and projects.

For successful start-ups looking to take the next step and generate additional funds, the jurisdiction provides excellent access to capital markets via Guernsey's listing capabilities on the London Stock Exchange (Main Market), AIM, Euronext, Frankfurt, Toronto and other stock exchanges providing a clear route forward.

Many major investors are familiar with investment into Guernsey and Guernsey is home to a number of significant investors in renewable technologies. These have taken the form of both clean-technologyfocused funds with a specific mandate to fund a variety of such projects and also more traditional private equity funds which have chosen to make specific investments in isolated renewable projects.

Examples of Guernsey funds with a focus on "clean technologies" include both a closed-ended fund launched by Crescent Capital, a Turkish manager with a focus on clean energy, and infrastructure funds, with a targeted NAV by end of 2012 of €200 million. By way of example of other projects falling into the wider definition of "clean technology" moving through Guernsey, Virgen Forestry Extracts Fund Limited has invested into projects for the sustainable production of a valuable oil produced by a rare South East Asian tree species.

Local service providers and lawyers have, as a result of the islands' investment history, been familiar with the needs of investments in significant infrastructure and generating projects in general and, increasingly, this expertise is being turned to, and developed to meet more specific needs of, the clean technology industries.

As with service providers, the island's wealth of non-executive directors includes many with broad experience in all industries and often specific energy and cleantech industry experience, enabling boards of both start-ups and clean-technology investment funds to benefit from past experience.

As with all new technologies, intellectual property is significant to this new field. Guernsey has reformed its intellectual property laws over recent years to establish the island as a leading offshore jurisdiction for the development and exploitation of intellectual property rights.

Whilst Guernsey's ground-breaking image rights legislation has understandably been the focus of much attention, new legislation has also been put in place in respect of a number of other types of intellectual property. This includes trademarks, copyright, database and performers' rights but also, of potential significance to renewable generation and clean technology more broadly, registered and unregistered design rights, semi-conductor topographies and plant breeders' rights (potentially of use to the biomass industry) as well as patents and biotechnological rights. There is also the capability to register, manage and protect intellectual property assets comprehensively within the island in tax-neutral vehicles (including cellular holding vehicles).

Another area of Guernsey expertise of relevance to those seeking to develop major renewable energy projects is captive insurance. Guernsey has decades of presence and experience in this field, and is the world's fourth-largest captive domicile. It is expected that the use of captives may assist with the long-term management of, for example, decommissioning projects at the end of their working lives. Captives are likely to prove useful to renewable-focused companies as they allow insurance where the established insurance market does not yet offer competitive policies due to significant future uncertainties (such as in scenarios related to relatively new technologies).

As a result of the relevance of many aspects of Guernsey's offering to renewable energy businesses, local authorities have recognised this as a potential growth area for the island and are looking to develop it from all sides.

The States of Guernsey have introduced primary legislation and the island's Renewable Energy Team is at an advanced stage with secondary legislation, primarily dealing with licensing aspects. The Team has also conducted a regional environmental assessment for tidal projects which is now being extended to cover wind power. The team is also talking to several UK universities, encouraging research projects and forming closer ties in order to broaden the pool of available knowledge and relevant skills in the areas of wind, tidal and wave power.

On the finance and corporate services side, Guernsey Finance, the Bailiwick's financial services industry promotional body, has pulled together a clean technology working party to focus on developing Guernsey's offering to both renewable projects and investors. It is hoped that, by drawing together expertise from all the fields mentioned above, the island will be able to service all aspects of renewable projects from cradle to grave and thereby become a global hub for those looking to establish themselves in the clean-technology marketplace.

Experience has shown the island that its growth and successes have invariably come from developing useable effective legislation and demonstrating a wealth of expertise in a particular field. It is to be hoped clean technology will be the latest example of this.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions