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Budget increase for home affairs to boost solar power

Vital boost: Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Solar power installations across the island are to be funded by a boost to the home affairs budget.

Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, said the $1 million increase, which will take his budget to $18.7 million, would help to create a secure and greener energy network for Bermuda.

Mr Roban, also the Deputy Premier, pledged that he would use the Department of Energy to set up a “green energy environmental justice fund” to provide capital for solar power systems.

He said: “This fund will be available to all residents, allowing many across the island to invest in renewable energy solutions.

“The structure being undertaken will also involve consultants Energy Infrastructure Partnership. The consultants will continue to be paid out of the professional services budget in the Ministry of Home Affairs.”

Mr Roban added that the fund would be one of several green measures introduced to protect Bermuda.

He added that he would introduce an energy regulatory sandbox — a light-touch regulatory system designed to encourage innovation.

Mr Roban said the change would “encourage new renewable energy technology developers to test their products in Bermuda”.

He added: “The legislation will also encourage investment into Bermuda, providing jobs for Bermudians and giving them access to new technologies.”

The minister said: “The elimination of single-use plastics is a critical matter given the interrelated issues of plastics, climate change, ocean pollution and human health.

He added that extensive consultation had already been held.

Mr Roban said: “Further consultation will be held with retailers, grocers and importers to determine how to implement realistic, financially viable solutions.

“Following this, we will analyse all the feedback provided in preparation for drafting the necessary legislation. This project is not incurring any additional expense.”

A marine development plan will also be drawn up boost the sustainable industries of “blue tourism”, fisheries and renewable energy.

Mr Roban, who was speaking during the Budget debate on his ministry on Monday, said: “Part of the plan includes the marine enforcement plan, which includes work by Blue Shield, which the UK Government funds.

“The issue of climate change is an existential threat to humanity.

“The science is evident in the observed effects of human activities on the planet due primarily to the burning of fossil fuels and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

“With the assistance of Government House, the Ministry of Home Affairs has secured funding from the UK Government for a new and expanded study to understand the impacts of sea-level rise and changing storm activity as an urgent first step in the fight against climate change.

“Over the next fiscal year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ focus will be on achieving these objectives.”

Mr Roban added: “Considering the challenges this country and the world continue to face, the ministry’s plans will be continuously scrutinised and adjusted as necessary to ensure we are on target to achieve our goals.

“At the same time, the ministry will continue to seek out opportunities that will enable the Government to grow the economy.”

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Published March 17, 2022 at 7:52 am (Updated March 17, 2022 at 7:52 am)

Budget increase for home affairs to boost solar power

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