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New energy plan to be best of all worlds

An energy plan will include a mix of ways to generate power, the Minister for Home Affairs has signalled.

Walter Roban said the energy blueprint would take elements from all eight energy generation proposals submitted to the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda to get ideas for an integrated resource plan, expected to be unveiled in the summer.

Mr Roban said: “It needs to be appreciated that there is no one plan that has been submitted that is going to be endorsed. It will not be BeSolar's plan or Belco's plan, in fact it should look very different.

“The RAB is going to come up with an IRP that is going to incorporate a number of them — a hybrid incorporating the submissions.”

Proposals included the use of wave energy, a ship-based regasification power and water plant, wind and solar energy, multi-fuel power using liquefied natural gas and oil, biomass technology using wood pellet fuel and hydrogen-based steam generation with water recovery.

Public views on the submissions showed overwhelming support for a plan drawn up by UK sustainable energy firm Etude on behalf of the Bermuda Engineering Company, the parent firm of BeSolar.

The submission proposed that 64 per cent of Bermuda's electricity should come from wind and solar power by 2038.

Monique Lister, senior legal analyst at the RAB, said: “The authority has taken the alternative proposal submissions and public comments into account when performing analysis and developing further scenarios.”

Mr Roban added: “Part of the impetus of the RAB is to promote the uptick of renewables. It is a legal objective so we can't go back towards more fossil fuels. That is not legally the objective or the purpose of the RAB.

“Part of their remit is to diversify the energy market and also to pursue cleaner, more affordable and more renewable forms of energy for the country as well.”

He added: “Two years from now we could be doing this again, technology changes as advancements come. Perhaps there will be more opportunities to do wind and marine types of generation and it will create an opportunity for us to do a new IRP to see how we incorporate other new energy technologies as well and further move away from fossil fuels.”

Mr Roban said that there would still be a need for traditional forms of power generation and Belco staff trained in old technology would also get the chance to retrain in new types of energy production.

He added: “It is our desire to expand the energy market so the fact we have been running on one type of energy for the past 100 years doesn't mean there are no opportunities for diversification for some of the people currently working in the energy business.

“There will be new jobs but also Belco is not going anywhere.

“They may not dominate the energy generation market in the way they have in the past, but they are still going to be a necessity until we can go 100 per cent renewable.”

Walter Roban, Minister of Home Affairs

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Published April 15, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated April 15, 2019 at 8:08 am)

New energy plan to be best of all worlds

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