Belco voices in-principle support for IRP

  • Major investment: the giant engines being installed at Belco’s new North Power Station (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Major investment: the giant engines being installed at Belco’s new North Power Station (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Belco has declared its in-principle support for the island’s first Integrated Resource Plan.

The IRP, released by the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda on Thursday, outlines the framework for the island’s energy requirements over the next 25 years.

Belco submitted its proposals for the IRP, which favoured a solution with natural gas being used as a principal fuel.

However, Bermuda’s electricity sector regulator has opted in favour of an offshore wind farm and more solar power.

Under the plan, within six years the island is scheduled to have a 60-megawatt offshore wind farm, 21MW of utility-scale solar photovoltaic supply and up to 30MW of “distributed generation”, meaning residential and small-scale solar.

The IRP’s release came as shareholders of Belco’s parent company Ascendant Group prepare to vote next week on a proposed $365 million takeover by Algonquin Power&Utility Corporation, the Canadian utility group.

A Belco spokesman said: “Belco supports the IRP, in principle, and looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the Regulatory Authority to pursue the aspirational renewable targets that have been set.

“The company currently supports, and will continue to support, efforts to improve Bermuda’s environment and reduce greenhouse emissions wherever possible.”

The spokesman added: “One of the reasons Algonquin Power&Utilities Corp was chosen by the board of directors to take the company forward is because it has the capital resources, operational knowledge and experience in technological innovation to introduce renewable energy.”

Ian Robertson, chief executive officer of Algonquin, said: “Our commitment to sustainability provides us with the opportunity to leverage our core competencies of responsible utility ownership and renewable energy development; we look forward to working with the Authority and the people of Bermuda to ensure safe, reliable and cost-effective energy for many years to come.”

In the IRP, the RA said that “specific engines at the Belco plant that are dependent on fossil fuels will be decommissioned”.

Generators that burn liquid fuel “are not expected to operate at full utilisation from 2026 onwards, due to the relatively high contribution that is expected from renewable sources”, the report states.

However, such generators will still be needed to ensure continuity of supply when renewable sources are not available and during major system faults, the IRP adds.

Shareholders of Ascendant are to meet on August 9 to vote on whether to approve the sale of the company to Algonquin. Under the deal, shareholders would receive $36 per share.

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Published Jul 30, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 29, 2019 at 8:51 pm)

Belco voices in-principle support for IRP

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