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OBA questions single firm deal for wave power generation pilot

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Illustration of underwater operations by green energy company Seabased

The championing of a single company to bring tidal power energy to Bermuda has been questioned by the Opposition.

Scott Pearman, the shadow home affairs minister, said he would raise the One Bermuda Alliance’s concerns about the Government’s deal with Seabased in the House of Assembly.

He added: “It is odd that the Government would choose to commit to only one provider so early in the process - and seemingly without exploring other options.”

Mr Pearman said: “It would assist the public to hear more from the minister about how his tidal energy proposal dovetails with the Regulatory Authority’s Integrated Resource Plan.

Scott Pearman, the shadow home affairs minister (File photograph)

“The Regulatory Authority’s plan was developed after extensive consultation and a multi-year assessment.”

Mr Pearman asked: “So how does Seabased’s tidal proposal fit in with the plan?”

He warned: “Additionally, it will be extremely important to secure an environmental impact assessment of this tidal energy proposal.

“This assessment must be carried out by a truly independent agency and not by the proposed service provider itself.“

Mr Pearman was speaking after Walter Roban, the home affairs minister and Deputy Premier, predicted that wave power could in time generate more than 100 per cent of the island’s electricity requirements.

Mr Roban made the claims last month as he announced an agreement with energy firm Seabased, headquartered in Ireland, which aims to set up a wave energy farm off St George’s.

He added that, despite the Regulatory Authority’s apparent lack of interest in tidal power for its green energy proposals, a bid to get the watchdog to consider licences for new energy technology development, such as the Seabased project, would go before Parliament within months.

Mr Roban said at the time: “When the IRP was developed wave technology was, literally, in its infancy.

“However, wave energy is now being considered as a commercial alternative.”

He added: “On completion of the project, the 40 megawatts wave park will provide about 10 per cent of Bermuda's energy needs.

“I am confident that this pilot will prove to be a success.”

Mr Roban predicted a wave farm would put Bermuda ahead of the pack in the race for green energy.

He said: “I believe the timeline for once everything is in place is about 18 months for them to actually have their technology deployed in our waters.

“It is our hope over time that this will help to lower the cost of energy in Bermuda. That’s our main goal here.

“Wave power could, theoretically, provide more than 100 per cent of the current electricity consumption.”

Mr Roban added: “Wave technology is known to be relatively stable, operating 24/7, 365 days a year.”

He said that a “significant amount of negotiations” went on before a site known as BM 1.5, north east of St George’s, was selected.

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Published December 13, 2021 at 9:51 am (Updated December 13, 2021 at 2:12 pm)

OBA questions single firm deal for wave power generation pilot

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