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Belco looking to move away from fossil fuels

The North Power Station at Belco (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bosses at Belco say they working with members of the community to address concerns about emissions.

Wayne Caines, Belco president, told the Hamilton Rotary Club yesterday that the energy provider was hard at work to address complaints and concerns about air and water quality near the Pembroke plant.

But he said a move away from fossil fuels was needed.

“Long term, we as a country need to have less reliance on fossil fuels and going down that road we are looking towards other options to do so,” he added.

Mr Caines added that increased adoption of renewable energy would help to control energy costs, which would further benefit the community.

Krista Barnes, Ascendant’s director of communications and sustainability, said the company was looking into offshore wind energy, but that it was still to early to say where specifically a wind farm could be located.

Ms Barnes said: “We are looking at different technologies and costs and companies.”

She added that the company has no plans to bring any further fossil fuel engines into the island.

Ms Barnes also said that the company’s investment in a 10MW battery storage system had reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 4,728 tons and saved customers a total of $2 million.

Nadir Wade, Belco’s managing director of bulk generation, explained that the battery system had helped reduce fuel costs by reducing the need to run “standby” generators.

He said the company had encountered some “teething issues” with the new North Power Plant, but the energy provider had been working closely with the developer behind the plant to address problems.

Mr Wade added that the company was continuing to move forward with a $47 million project to replace aged cables across the island and more than half of customers had received new “advanced” energy meters.

The meters – which regularly measure energy usage – would make more information about energy usage available to both the company and customers.

He added that while customers can opt out, it is hoped that 85 to 90 per cent of customers will have the new meters before the end of the year.

Mark Pacheco, director of occupational health, safety and environment (OSHE) and business continuity, said staff have met with the Bermuda Clean Air Coalition four times so far this year and regularly meet with neighbours about their concerns.

He said the company were regularly measuring emission levels and testing the water at nearby buildings, and added that for more than 30 years the company had paid for those who live near the plant to have their roofs repainted.

Last year the company painted roofs on 150 homes and Mr Pacheco said they were on track to do about the same number this year.

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Published April 14, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated April 14, 2021 at 7:48 am)

Belco looking to move away from fossil fuels

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