House: fuel policy almost ready
Government will finalise its National Fuels Policy this month, according to Walter Roban.
Speaking in the House of Assembly today, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs said the policy is hoped to be published within the first six weeks of 2018.
Mr Roban said: “The purpose of the policy is to direct the island's fuel sector towards a future that is affordable, sustainable, safe and secure, helping inform the Integrated Resource Plan and Bermudians' involvement with the IRP process.
“All sectors of our economy are dependent on imported fuels, and Bermudians' concerns over the monetary cost, as well as the environmental and health costs, point to a need to chart a more sustainable course for the energy sector.
“This involves making a key distinction between conventional fossil fuels and low-carbon fuels, and endorsing actions that shift our use from the first to the second.
“However, I should point out we have not lost sight of the significance of displacing fuels — whether low carbon or conventional fossil fuels — with clean renewable sources of energy.”
Mr Roban said the Government understands the need for reliable energy and is working with Belco to find a “equitable way forward” for both the company and the island.
“Any licensed entity in the electricity sector is effectively in the public service, and it has to purchase equipment and pay for personnel to operate that equipment or manage the grid,” he said.
“There would be no reason for any utility to ensure that its equipment was modern, efficient, safe, and reliable if it could not make a reasonable profit from it.
“This is the essence of the regulatory compact. The regulator examines the costs of providing service to the public, and determines what the utility may expect to be compensated for.
“There is a duty to be fair to the rate payer, but also fair to those providing energy to the grid- both large and small energy producers, and to those providing the infrastructure to get that energy to the customers.
“This noted, we must simultaneously make certain that Bermudians have their say and have their preferences honoured, while ensuring there is healthy and sensible competition.”
Mr Roban stated that the Government supports clean energy and energy diversification in general, saying that the adoption of new green technology could be a boost for the economy as well as the environment.
“The benefits of keeping more currency in Bermuda, circulating in our economy, as opposed to purchasing foreign oil, are numerous and cannot be ignored,” he said.
“Air quality improves, just a little both locally and globally, with every solar panel on a roof. A little extra money stays in the local economy with every conservation measure. There is a job for an installer with every PV system purchased.
“The renewable energy sector will provide jobs for electricians, technicians, computer and software specialists, repair and maintenance specialists, salespersons, marketers, engineers, and design professionals.
“It all adds up, and these benefits should no longer be considered as vague externalities because there are real and tangible benefits for Bermuda.”
• To read Mr Roban's statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”