The Energy Blog A brief history of La Collette
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Since 1966, La Collette has producing power for Jersey. We reflect on its history, its role today and some remarkable facts behind the facility.

For over 50 years, La Collette Power Station has been providing electricity to the island. Here is a brief history and a few intriguing facts about the station.

Location, Location, Location

The site for La Collette was chosen because of its close proximity to St Helier Harbour, convenient for receiving deliveries of fuel and drawing a constant supply of sea water for cooling the equipment.

Phase one of the station was completed in November 1966 and produced electricity from two 15MW steam boilers and one 30MW steam turbine. At that time there was only a beach to the west of the station, and Jersey did not yet have a yacht marina; you can still see the old sea wall from the Control Room. Over the years the generating plant was expanded until, at its peak, La Collette could produce 224MW of power. 

Always On Standby

Today 95% of the Island’s electricity requirements are met with imported low carbon supplies from Electricité de France (EDF) through three undersea supply cables. These three cables, known as Normandie 1 (N1), Normandie 2 (N2) and Normandie 3 (N3), provide the Channel Islands with access to 245MW of electricity - of which Jersey has 190MW - via the Channel Islands Electricity Grid (CIEG).

The main role of La Collette Power Station today is as the controlling hub of the CIEG, monitoring and distributing the power from continental Europe. In addition, the station can still generate electricity if required and strategically it is the Island's back up power resource.

In 2011, Jersey Electricity acquired two more 11MW Sulzer diesel generators from Saudi Arabia to enhance La Collette as a standby facility. They replaced two decommissioned old Mirlees generators and joined two existing 11MW Sulzers. The permanent loss of the original EDF1 French supply cable in June 2012, added new urgency to the diesel upgrade project and before the winter of 2012/13, the new engines were in place to supplement the supply from France whilst work continued on the new 100MW N3 cable which was successfully installed in 2014.

The generators now continue to provide that all-important back-up power for emergencies. An additional 5.5MW ‘black start’ Sulzer Diesel Generator can restore full supplies to the Power Station without the need for electrical power to energise its start-up, in the unlikely event of a complete blackout.

Notable in Stature

The site at La Collette is defined architecturally by it's chimney. Standing at 348ft, it's taller than Elizabeth Tower at the Palace of Westminster in London and the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour!

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La Collette's chimney acts on behalf of both the diesel powered generators and the States'owned Energy from Waste Plant (EfW). Over the past three years, more energy has been produced by EfW than the diesel generators. Between 2016/2017, only 1 % of the Island's energy was produced by the diesel generators with 6% produced by EfW.

50 years and more

Though the dependence on La Collette has changed from producing the majority of Jersey electricity needs to a quick response back-up resource, the site's importance for islanders hasn't changed: it is the central hub from which energy is managed in Jersey and across the Channel Islands. To find out more about La Collette's history, please see our article from 2016 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the site.