A $300m commitment to replace fossil fuel
Renewables is something we at Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation are passionate about. It is how our company started. From our inception in 1988, we have approached business growth with a long-term commitment to creating value for our customers and communities through investment in long-lived, sustainable assets that are built for the future.
Through our two companies, Liberty Utilities and Liberty Power, we own more than 70 power-generation facilities and utilities throughout Canada and the United States, supported by more than 2,500 skilled and motivated employees who play a vital role in our success.
Liberty Power holds direct or indirect equity interests in more than 35 clean-energy facilities with more than two gigawatts of installed capacity. This includes hydroelectric facilities with a combined generating capacity of 135MW and solar-energy facilities with 164MW of installed generating capacity.
Our company also operates wind-powered generating stations in Canada and the US with a combined generating capacity of 1GW, which is ten times Belco's peak demand. Wind is a technology with which we have much experience and we are looking forward to exploring the possibilities of introducing this technology in Bermuda.
Our portfolio of development projects will add more than 1.4GW of incremental renewable capacity from wind and solar-powered generating stations by 2023. Our mantra at Algonquin is that sustainability is not something we do; it's something we are, and our purpose is simply stated as “Sustaining Energy and Water for Life”.
Our strategy includes a focus on high-quality, renewable-generation projects that benefit from low operating costs using proven technology and can offer a high rate of return on invested capital. That is why we have committed to investing $300 million in Bermuda's renewable-energy future.
This investment will help Bermuda to achieve the renewables goal outlined in the Integrated Resource Plan — to generate 85 per cent of the island's electricity supply from renewable sources by 2035. The island is already making inroads to achieving this goal with the new solar project at the “airport finger”, which is projected to generate 6MW, and already-installed rooftop solar generating another 5MW.
Empowering home and business owners to install generating capacity and energy storage is something we strongly believe in and have moved towards with initiatives in other jurisdictions in which we operate.
For example, in New Hampshire, we recently commenced the first phase of a programme that has received approval from the local regulator to purchase and install Tesla Powerwalls in 500 homes.
The programme is intended to lower costs for ratepayers overall, while saving money for the host customers based on a time-of-use rate. This new model provides an avenue to leverage private investment in distributed energy to reduce overall grid-system costs.
We also look to replace fossil-fuel generation with renewables in the markets in which we operate — like our 600MW Missouri wind project, as well as solar generation and storage. Last November, we broke ground on our Maverick Creek Wind Farm in Texas, which will, when operational this year, have the capacity to power 200,000 homes. Our energy purchasers for Maverick — Kimberly-Clarke and General Mills — will use that clean energy to offset significant portions of their operations' power needs, helping them to achieve their sustainability goals.
So we're not just helping the local economies, we're helping the planet.
If our application relating to the change of control of Belco is approved by the Regulatory Authority and the Government of Bermuda, we are committed to making similar investments on island — a $300 million commitment to steadily increase the amount of renewable energy to ultimately replace fossil-fuel generation.
Our proven track record will enable Bermuda to move to more renewable energy sources while also lowering energy prices for customers. We are excited by the possibility of becoming part of a cleaner, greener Bermuda.
• Ian Robertson is the chief executive of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation