Old airport terminal may become alternative energy hub
The old airport terminal could be turned into a hub for renewable energy, The Royal Gazette has learned.
Sol Petroleum’s renewable energy programme Sol Ecolution has approached airport operator Skyport with a proposal for a solar farm , Skyport commercial director Ken Hassard said last week.
“The proposal for a solar farm came from Sol Petroleum’s renewable energy programme, Sol Ecolution. They approached Skyport about two months ago,” said Mr Hassard.
According to Mr Hassard, an “alternative energy incubator” is also proposed for the site.
“The main goal of the incubator is to be a place where people can learn more about how to transition from hydrocarbon energy to solar, wind and other alternative forms,” he said.
Even though the solar farm proposal is in its very early stages, Mr Hassard’s hope is that the new airport terminal will, with Sol Ecolution’s help, be fuelled completely by solar power.
Dami Adesegha, regional director for Sol Ecolution, said: “Sol Ecolution is actively exploring commercial and utility-scale development opportunities in solar, battery storage, and other renewable energy technologies with regional applications, including Bermuda.
“Additionally, Sol Ecolution has developed a third-party commercial solar offering to facilitate the energy transition for commercial customers in our markets.”
Mr Adesegha did not provide details about the proposed incubator programme.
According to Mr Hassard, discussions have also been had with local company Clean Energy Storage Solutions to help bring the proposal to fruition.
Dwayne Trott, CEO of Clean Energy Storage Solutions, said the proposal was still in its very early stages and he could not comment in detail.
Alternative energy is not the only active proposal for the old facility.
Mr Hassard says that Skyport is working with Rego Sotheby’s as part of its highest and best uses of land study. Similar to the solar plant proposal, this partnership is in its early stages.
“The biggest advantage of working with Rego Sotheby’s is that they are an internationally-recognised company who have done major transactions in Bermuda,” he said.
“The only disadvantage of working with them is that they are not an airport development company, which is why we are also looking at partnering with a firm overseas who specialises in the development of airport land.
“Our goal is to have this study done by the first quarter of next year. We plan to bring in investors the following year.”
Skyport is also working with Rego Sotheby’s to determine an approximate monetary value for the land. This process is also in its very early stages.
Mr Hassard believes that the land is quite valuable. It is on the waterfront, located at the country’s only airport, on an island that consists only of 21 square miles of land; most of which has already been developed.
“Some other ideas that we had for the site include cargo and storage space for local companies and meeting facilities for small businesses,” Mr Hassard said.
When Skyport had the old building surveyed by Aecon engineers soon after they had taken over airport operations in 2017, it was determined that the best option was to have the old site demolished.
When the airport’s cashflow dropped significantly as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, however, any plans to demolish the site were put on hold.