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Sea power plan under consideration

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A range of renewable energy sources are being considered for the island’s waters as the Government plans to move forward with its blue economy strategy.

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said in the House of Assembly today that offshore wind, solar and tidal energy options were being considered as part of an Marine Spatial Plan that is under development.

He added: “Given our lack of available real estate in our 21-square-mile island for large areas of commercial scale renewable energy solutions, it is logical that we would look at opportunities in our expansive marine exclusive economic zone.”

Mr Roban said a report, commissioned from the Rocky Mountain Institute, considered several options for offshore renewable energy generation.

Mr Roban added offshore wind turbines were successful in other countries, but any developer would need to carry out feasibility studies on specific marine locations around Bermuda.

He said: “An investment-grade wind study is not at the moment planned for the Government or the Regulatory Authority to carry out, but again, we can begin to identify potential sites for prospective developers.”

Mr Roban said floating solar arrays had been successful in sheltered waterways and open-ocean installations are being tested abroad.

He added: “This technology has had some rapid recent refinements, and may be feasible for use here in Bermuda.

“Because of the aggressive timeline of the integrated resource plan, we will be seeking sites for implementation that are close to those used for wind installations, to make better use of infrastructure in place, making the electricity produced even more affordable.”

Mr Roban said tidal power, ocean wave and ocean thermal energy conversion were all in development internationally, and the Bermuda plan would consider locations where such technologies could be used.

Energy generation was one of three economic options focused on in the development of the MSP, along with fisheries and tourism.

Mr Roban said: “As part of the plan, the Government has also committed to designate 20 per cent of Bermuda’s waters as fully protected areas.

“This equates to 90,000 square kilometres of the 465,000 square kilometres of ocean that Bermuda is responsible for managing.”

The Minister added that the Government would ask for public views on the blue economy strategy, and chapters on fisheries, tourism and marine renewable energy had already been drafted.

Mr Roban said: “For the MSP, focus groups have been formed to evaluate and refine the principles and goals and to draft objectives based on categories of marine uses.

“The general public is also being asked through an ocean use survey for their input to identify areas of importance.

“Each input collected will help us to better understand priority areas and ocean activities, and thus develop the best possible plan for Bermuda.”

To take the survey, visit bermudaoceanprosperity.org.

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Published December 11, 2020 at 3:43 pm (Updated January 26, 2021 at 1:01 am)

Sea power plan under consideration

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