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Belco committed to alternative energy

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Wayne Caines, president of Belco

Switching Bermuda to green energy will cost hundreds of millions, the Belco president has warned – but he pledged that consumers will not be hit by higher rates.

Wayne Caines also promised health and safety officers would deal with the impact of soot on neighbouring properties from the company’s North Power Station in a July 11 incident.

The utility company was told by the Government to take “urgent action” in the aftermath of the latest fallout from the plant at St John’s Road, Pembroke, which began running in April, 2020.

Mr Caines said studies of tank water showed pollutants from discharges of soot did not exceed international standards.

He added that traces of toxic chemical compounds found in water tanks in a survey released in March 2021 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources came from vehicle emissions and were found across the island.

The only red flag in the study was the presence of bacteria in tank water, which Mr Caines said came from animal waste.

In an Opinion article, Mr Caines – a government MP, who became Belco president in December, 2020 – reaffirmed the utility’s commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Unintended consequences: the build-up of rust and soot from a Belco emission left this mess on the roof of a St John’s Road resident

He apologised to the plant’s neighbours and said Belco would do “everything possible” to remedy the impact.

The company has painted roofs as well as supplying filtration equipment to properties affected.

Mr Caines said Belco was committed to reducing emissions and adopting alternative energy.

“In the long-term, we plan to continue the greening of our fleet and include offshore wind as a substantial component of our energy mix,” he said.

Natural gas was on the table as a substitute but ruled out under the integrated resource plan from the independent Regulatory Authority, he said.

“We are committed to becoming a renewable power company – but this is going to take time and investment,” Mr Caines said.

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Published July 26, 2022 at 7:48 am (Updated July 26, 2022 at 7:53 am)

Belco committed to alternative energy

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