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Airport to benefit from solar farm

LF Wade International Airport (file photograph)

A solar farm could be up and running at LF Wade International Airport before the end of this financial year.

Walter Roban, Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said work to prepare the site was scheduled to start within weeks.

Mr Roban added: “The Department of Energy will work with the Ministry of Public Works to facilitate the development of the six megawatt solar farm at the munitions pier of the LF Wade International Airport.

“The site clearing and preparation will begin over the next few weeks.

“This project is targeted for completion in this fiscal year, at which time up to 13 per cent of peak demand will be met by clean solar power.”

A ministry spokesman said yesterday he could not identify the potential developer because discussions were still ongoing.

He said: “We are in final stages of negotiations with the preferred bidder and cannot announce anything further until final agreements are signed.

“We will make a press statement at the appropriate time in the process.”

Environmental charity Greenrock said that it was delighted to hear the long-discussed project was moving forward.

Jonathan Starling, the charity’s executive director, said: “Renewable energy technology, and particularly battery technology, are increasingly changing the dynamic in favour of increased renewable energy integration into our power system.

“With the impact of human-induced global climate change increasingly affecting us, this development is a great first step for Bermuda in reducing its fossil fuel dependence.

“Along with switching increasingly to renewable energy sources, which battery technology is increasingly helping to smooth out supply and demand issues, we also need to increase energy efficiency and conservation.”

He said the charity looks forward to the project being completed and hopes to see a greater focus on renewable energy as the island works to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Plans to erect a solar farm on the munitions pier, also known as “the finger”, have been discussed for several years under both the One Bermuda Alliance and Progressive Labour Party administrations. The former OBA government put out a Request For Proposal for the site in December 2016, with the goal of selecting a developer by April, 2017.

The RFP proposed the Government should fund site preparation, which would be recovered from the rental income for the estimated 15 acres that will be leased to the developer.

There were 29 submissions, of which 19 met the criteria, with potential bidders from Bermuda, Canada, Spain, the United States, Germany, Britain and Australia.