Site identified for wave energy farm
A site has been selected for a firm to set up a wave energy farm off the island if it gets approval for the project, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has revealed.
The DENR is reviewing an environmental impact report on the initiative by Seabased which will be supplied to the Regulatory Authority as part of the company’s attempt to get an operating licence, a department spokesman said.
The move comes some 16 months after Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, told MPs that wave power has the potential to eventually meet all the island’s electricity demand.
The spokesman yesterday told The Royal Gazette: “A proposed site has been selected; however, it will be part of the application to the RA and at no cost to the Government.
“The innovative licence legislation requires an environmental impact report.
“DENR is reviewing it, after which it will be submitted to the RA with the application.”
According to its website, commercial wave power park projects are under development include Bermuda, Ghana and the Canary Islands.
The website says: “Seabased strives to generate renewable, CO₂-free power in a way that is also gentle on the environment.
“Our wave power parks are designed to be virtually invisible and require little maintenance. The materials used, and the mechanics of the parks, are chosen to protect the water and the creatures that live in it. In fact, the parks can be designed to provide both habitat and breeding ground for marine life. Extracting utility-scale renewable energy from ocean waves is a key to Earth’s future.”
The DENR insists it has not looked at other companies to supply wave power, stating that Seabased contacted the Government with its proposal.
The spokesman said: “Seabased Limited approached the Government. Seabased Limited is an investor.
“Any bona fide investor, including Belco, can apply for an innovative licence for new technology, provided they meet the requirements. We are pleased that we can attract investors in renewable energy.”
Initially, it is expected that the scheme will be a two-megawatt pilot project, followed by a 40MW park to provide 10 per cent of the island’s power.
No details of the site’s proposed location have been given.
The department was unable to say what consumers, or Belco, may pay Seabased for its electricity, stating that a power purchase agreement would need to be ironed out with the energy company, as with other holders of bulk generation licences, such as Tynes Bay.
The start date for the initiative is dependent on when, and if, Seabased is granted a licence to operate, according to the spokesman.
Mr Roban, who is also the Deputy Premier, said in November 2021 that such a move to wave generation would lead to cheaper bills for consumers, stating: “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.”
The latest comments come in the wake of the Electricity Amendment Act being passed last year which created a regulatory “sandbox” – a light-touch rules framework designed to encourage innovation in energy production.
The South Pacific nation of Tonga has also engaged with Seabased in a bid to set up a wave energy farm, Mr Roban stated.
He said: “Bermuda has had to be risk-averse because of our isolation and the high costs associated with that isolation.
“Notwithstanding that aversion to risk, we needed to find a way to encourage credible innovators, especially with the ever-increasing risks that climate change poses, and so the sandbox was created.”
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