Solar at airport ‘finger’ one step closer

  • Pleased with progress: home affairs minister Walter Roban (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Pleased with progress: home affairs minister Walter Roban (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A renewable energy company has predicted it will exceed expectations with a new solar farm on a disused airport runway.

Saturn Solar Bermuda 1 explained its objectives in a string of documents submitted as part of a licence application posted on the Regulatory Authority website.

The firm, part of Canadian-based Saturn Power, said it aimed to develop a six-megawatt power plant on the unused “finger” at the airport.

It said in a Bulk Generation Licence application: “The goal of the project is to produce clean, emission-free, and sustainable power through the conversion of sunlight into electricity therefore reducing Bermuda’s dependence on dirty diesel power generation.

“This project provides the island of Bermuda with a price-stable and cost-efficient source of electricity with predictable supply.

“Saturn Power’s mission is to ensure the safe, efficient and timely installation of the project and long-term operation of the project to exceed the expectations of the Government of Bermuda, the citizens of Bermuda and local agencies.”

The application showed the ownership structure of the company.

It added: “At Saturn Power Inc, this same team has been responsible for the development, permitting, engineering, financing, and construction of over 70MWs of solar facilities in Canada and internationally.

“The company was founded over ten years ago and has seen great success with renewable energy development.”

Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, said: “I am pleased that the project has progressed from a proposal phase towards becoming a reality.”

He explained in June 2018, when he was the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, that Saturn Power had submitted the lowest bid out of nine proposals, six of which were Bermudian, and offered a rate of 10.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

The Bermuda Government will collect rent for the site, although the licence application said that the lease was “in the process of being amended between the parties”.

Portions of the company’s submission were removed from the documents released to the public, including the expected capital cost for the installation as well as anticipated annual expenses, which were predicted to rise in line with inflation each year.

The application said that a local contractor would be used to build the solar power station with imported equipment for specialised parts such as “solar modules, inverters, racking, transformers and other electrical equipment”.

Mr Roban said last year that the deal included an agreement that all bidders “were required to have Bermudian content in regards to labour during construction and operations, and maintenance personnel post-construction”.

He explained then that the project will “create an opportunity for sustainable and sensible competition in the electricity sector”.

Mr Roban added that it would stabilise a portion of ratepayers’ electricity bills for the next 20 years.

He said that the replacement of oil fuel costs with solar power would keep an estimated $20 million or more in the island’s economy over the project’s lifetime.

The Government’s Official Gazette said that comments on the proposed development could be submitted up to 21 days from the date of the application notice, which was on Monday.

To view the Bulk Generation Licence submitted by Saturn Solar Bermuda 1, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

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Published Aug 14, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 14, 2019 at 7:05 am)

Solar at airport ‘finger’ one step closer

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