Senator Michael Fahy said the OBA are studying the plans to locate a solar panel plant at the Airport Finger “with great interest” saying “it seems on the surface a wonderful idea – a plan with great potential to significantly lower reliance on fossil fuel in Bermuda, reduce the energy monopoly, and lower greenhouse emissions.”
Senator Fahy said it is standard procedure in governments like ours that the sitting government does not sign off on significant capital projects when an election is looming. He said they allow the new government to make the decision, and asked “that that convention be honoured.”
Senator Fahy also said it is important to allow as many local companies as possible to give proposals for the site, and also suggested altering planning regulations to require new buildings to have a certain energy efficiency level incorporated.
Earlier this week Sol Invictus Holdings founder Tim Madeiros unveiled proposed plans for a 27 megawatt ground-mount solar panel system to be installed at the Airport Finger, with the estimated annual energy production of the system to be 44.7 gigawatt hours.
Bermuda Engineering Company Ltd. noted that they submitted a proposal in 2008, and said the entire solar industry in Bermuda, some half dozen companies, have waited for an opportunity to submit their proposals for the airport peninsula.
The 2008 proposal was actually made by RES America, however Bermuda Engineering said they been involved with RES since 1997, and were involved in the original solar proposal from the very beginning.
Senator Fahy said: “We are studying with great interest plans to locate a solar panel plant at the point of land on the LF Wade International Airport known as the Finger.
“It seems on the surface a wonderful idea – a plan with great potential to significantly lower reliance on fossil fuel in Bermuda, reduce the energy monopoly, and lower greenhouse emissions.
“We have two concerns about it, and a suggestion. Our first concern is that although access to the Finger is severely restricted, it is a rare 56-acre chunk of the Island – are we absolutely certain that the benefits of shutting it down to future development outweigh the drawbacks?
“Second, it is standard operating procedure in governments like ours that the sitting government, if I can put it like that, does not sign off on significant capital projects like this one when an election is looming. They allow the new government to make the decision. We would ask that that convention be honoured. In addition it is important to allow as many local companies as possible to give proposals for the site in question.
“Meantime, the OBA will be reaching out to all those who have made proposals for solar initiatives on this site. We are concerned about the high cost of electricity for Bermudians due to the volatility of oil prices – if such a project will lower or at least help stabilize prices, then we are disposed to give such initiatives support.
“We also believe that competition is important in our energy industry and will be prepared to work with the private sector to see lower prices and competition in the energy sector, whilst lowering greenhouse gases,” continued Senator Fahy.
“Our suggestion is this: As we understand it, solar and wind technology are sufficiently advanced these days that high winds are no longer the detracting factor they once were. In addition, there are a variety of clever new methods and products on the market which lower energy use.
“We believe it is time to alter Planning regulations so as to require new buildings to have a certain energy efficiency level incorporated through the use of this new technology. Over time, that simple change could significantly lower our energy consumption. It is certainly a change we would make when we take the reins of Government,” concluded Senator Fahy.
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