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Solar power project at airport

LF Wade International Airport. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The solar power plant planned for a vacant airport runway will start at a limited capacity as the island’s power grid is reconfigured, Parliament heard this morning.

Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, told MPs that the initial phase of the solar project would use 15 of the 60 acres allocated from the runway jutting into Castle Harbour, known as the Finger, at LF Wade International Airport.

It will initially be limited to six megawatts of maximum output.

The competitive phase of selecting the preferred bidder is scheduled to finish in December. The contractual phase, Dr Gibbons said, should be finalised by the end of January 2017.

?There will be a second phase to use the remaining acreage for a follow-on facility.

“As a consequence of changes in the profile of Bermuda’s electricity demands, it is anticipated that Belco will need to upgrade their grid,” the minister said.

Respondents to the Government’s request for proposal are required to declare that a specified percentage of their total labour costs for construction will come from Bermuda residents.

Bidders must also confirm that their operations and maintenance contractor will be a local firm for the life of the project, anticipated to run for 20 years.