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Floating device proposed for $2m wind study

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An image of a potential wind farm for Bermuda (Photograph courtesy of BVG Associates)

An ongoing study of wind power for Bermuda, now in its fourth round, suggests a 60MW offshore wind farm could generate 34 per cent of Bermuda’s present electricity requirements.

A floating battery of scientific instruments has been proposed for a more accurate picture of the feasibility of tapping into wind for power.

The analysis submitted to the Greenrock energy charity by BVG Associates continues to favour an offshore location for renewable energy to Bermuda’s north, in an area considered to have the best energy potential and lowest environmental impact.

Greenrock said its own estimates, based on Belco’s energy prices, suggested offshore wind could yield electricity that would come in “30 to 40 per cent cheaper than generating electricity from fuel oil”.

That estimate was more generous than previously stated by Greenrock, when a potential figure of 30 per cent was given.

“The electricity generated by a 60MW offshore wind farm would cost around $23 million a year less than generating the same amount of electricity from oil.”

Greenrock said it was now seeking sponsors to support the next study — an “offshore wind road map”.

“This will be written for key stakeholders and will explain good practice approaches that could be used for a small remote location such as Bermuda to interact with the global offshore wind industry, to successfully procure and develop a commercial offshore wind farm for Bermuda,” the charity said.

Wind energy has been largely backed by Greenrock since the Regulatory Authority put the concept out for public consultation in June.

The latest BVG Associates report has called for “on-site wind data collection for a period of 24 months, likely collected by a floating lidar” — a system that uses lasers to carry out its measurements to collect accurate wind data.

The device would be self-powered and moored within the potential site of the wind energy plant, on a floating platform anchored to the seabed.

A lidar device used for measuring wind speeds, proposed by analysts of potential wind farms to supply electricity to Bermuda (Picture from BVG Associates)

The RA has proposed a location for the lidar device about ten kilometres from the proposed site and closer to St George’s, the report stated.

A two-year study, which the analysis considered optimal, would cost about $2 million to run.

The report’s timeline projected lidar installation by mid-2024, with data collection completed by mid-2026, and a final annual energy production report by the third quarter of 2026.

Greenrock said the predicted electricity costs from an offshore wind farm had been revised, using the annual energy production from the study, to roughly $0.17/kWh.

The group supports phasing out fossil fuels from energy production in Bermuda.

BVG Associates said: “Based on previous renewable energy resource and technology assessments, offshore wind has consistently been identified as the most critical mature renewable energy technology to achieve decarbonisation of the electricity sector.”

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Published November 08, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated November 08, 2023 at 10:18 am)

Floating device proposed for $2m wind study

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