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Belco wins energy award

Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited (”BELCO” or the “Company”) has won the Best Energy Storage Project award at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (“CREF”) for its recently commissioned Nolan Smith Battery Energy Storage System (“BESS”).

CREF is the largest annual gathering of the Caribbean clean energy market and the awards programme recognizes leaders in the Caribbean energy sector who are making a lasting impact on resilient and renewable energy.

BELCO President Dennis Pimentel said: “The BESS working group team can be proud of this award. The BESS is an exciting project that is just a part of the foundation we are building for a better energy future for Bermuda, our $200+ million capital plan that has one overriding objective, to better serve our customers with safe, efficient and cost-effective electricity. On behalf of the entire Company, congratulations to the team!”

BELCO Mechanical Engineer and BESS Project Manager Stephanie Simons said: “I am very proud of the BELCO BESS team and the hard work that led to the successful completion of a project that has been voted Best Energy Storage Project in the Caribbean for 2019. Congratulations to all the awardees and their amazing projects pushing the boundaries of business as usual.”

The awards program drew candidates from across the Caribbean region, including Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, Bermuda, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The selected award winners represent the entities who have had a profound impact on the region's clean energy development.

Award recipients were chosen by an industry-leading Advisory Committee including Cletus Bertin, Executive Director, CARILEC; Chris Burgess, Director of Projects - Islands Energy Program, Rocky Mountain Institute; Gillian Charles-Gollop, Executive Director, Corporate Investment Banking and Advisory, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank; Jennifer DeCesaro, Acting Director of Technology to Market Program, U.S. Department of Energy; David Gumbs, Former CEO, ANGLEC; and Julie Taylor, Editorial Director, New Energy Events.

For more information on CREF, please visit the event hub at


About BESS

The BESS has been built to provide reserve capacity for the BELCO generation plant and will also assist in making Bermuda's entire electrical network more robust and reliable. Reserve capacity is the standby power that is always needed in case of a system fault that causes an engine that is providing power to the grid to come offline. Reserve capacity has traditionally been provided by running engines that are not adding power to the grid, but can do so at a moment's notice. The BESS will store up to 10 MW of power that can be discharged for up to 30 minutes.

If there is a problem with generation, the BESS will automatically kick in within 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds). This response is three times faster than a standard engine and will help to avoid the load shedding often associated with such events.

The BESS is made up of multiple ISO containers and transformers, having an overall footprint of approximately 2,000 square feet. Held within the containers are battery cells, inverters, controllers, relays, fans, and a fire suppression and detection system. The containers are then integrated into various BELCO networks including the fiber optic communication network and main power supply connection to the Phoenix Switchboard.

The system has a 10-year warranty and 20-year operating life. Safety is built into every level of the system architecture, being designed to monitor and prevent events at the cell level and eliminate events at the container level. The battery cells have a known end of life plan, where they are shipped back to the US, disassembled and the materials recycled.

This BESS installation has been dedicated to the late Nolan Smith, a Bermudian who spent more than 30-years working for BELCO. Nolan specialised in transmission and distribution system analysis, metering and protection.

Press release from Belco

Photograph supplied

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Published October 24, 2019 at 12:45 pm (Updated October 24, 2019 at 12:45 pm)

Belco wins energy award

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