Video: ‘Finger’ Solar Power Project Signing

June 4, 2018 | 49 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Transport & Regulatory Affairs Walter Roban and Minister of Public Works Lt/Col. David Burch are holding a press conference this afternoon [June 4]. We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video of the press conference is below.

Update: Speaking at today’s press conference, Minister Roban said, “The signing of this Project marks the official commencement of works for the Solar Photovoltaic Plant that will be located on a piece of land locally known as ‘The Finger.’

Live video replay

Update 5.19pm: Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs Walter Roban said, “We have just signed the 6 Mega Watt Solar Power Project which is to be developed on St. David’s Island, Bermuda.

“I am pleased to be joined by the Honorable Lieutenant Colonel David Burch, Minister of Public Works; Yves Lortie, Acting Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Public Works; Doug Wagner, President of Saturn Solar Bermuda 1 LTD; and Mike Brugge, VP of Engineering at Saturn Solar Bermuda 1. Welcome to the island.

“This is an exciting day for Bermuda. The signing of this Project marks the official commencement of works for the Solar Photovoltaic Plant that will be located on a piece of land locally known as ‘The Finger”. For those of you who don’t know where this is – it is a small peninsula in the St. George’s parish by our airport which was the old munitions pier for the US Navy.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Solar Bermuda 1, who were the successful bidders for the development of this land through an intense, transparent and inclusive selection process that began in 2016.

“Out of 9 candidates, 6 being Bermudian, Saturn Power came in as the lowest bidder at 10.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

Minister Roban and Minister Burch press conference June 4 2018 (2)

“This project will benefit Bermuda in many ways:

  • “First and foremost, it will create jobs for Bermudians. Early agreements during the bidding process set out that all bidders were required to have Bermudian content in regards to labor during construction and Operations and Maintenance personnel post-construction.
  • “Secondly, it will create an opportunity for sustainable and sensible competition in the electricity sector.
  • “Also, it will stabilize a small part of every rate payer’s electricity bill by replacing fuel costs with solar energy, allowing part of our electric bills to remain stable for the next 20 years. And four,
  • “The replacement of fuel costs with solar power will also keep an estimated 20 million dollars or more in our local economy over the course of this project’s lifetime.

Minister Roban and Minister Burch press conference June 4 2018 (1)

“It should be noted that the Government of Bermuda will also collect rent for this land that the Project will occupy. Associated costs to clear the development area and cut back vegetation will be recouped through the rent collected. Furthermore, at the end of this project, Saturn Power will remove their equipment so the land may be used for other development purposes in the future.

“Just to be clear, while this peninsula is landlocked by the airport, it is an entirely separate project and will not offset the airport’s energy use. This Project is and will continue to be for the benefit of Bermuda, the benefit of all rate players and a collaborative effort between many local players and Departments.

“A vision intentionally and thoughtfully set out by the Progressive Labour Party’s last administration. We are encouraged by all of the great benefits that this work will bring to our island.”

Airport Solar PV Project Aerial View [PDF here]

Airport Solar PV Project Aerial View Small 010618

Airport Solar PV Project Location Plan Aerial View [PDF here]

Airport Solar PV Project Location Plan Aerial View 010618

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Comments (49)

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  1. overbelly says:

    What’s the press conference about?

    • George says:

      Are you illiterate?

      • George says:

        Guess you wouldn’t be able to understand that question even if you were!

        • Black Soil says:

          Where is all the outrage about this? Oh that’s right, the PLP are in power now.

    • Who is Driving The Bus! says:

      Not sure why these two politicians would insinuate that this was another good idea brought to you by the letters P.L.& P.! Do they think we are stupid and suffer from short term memory loss. For F’s sake….give credit where credit is due!

      For those of you seeking the truth, please see the original story as posted on Bernews. See the comments too, and see how opinions have changed just because the government has. Nothing about the process, the bidders or the process has changed! So why take all the credit Burch & Roban? That speaks volumes about you both.
      http://bernews.com/2017/02/19-invited-to-bid-on-airport-solar-development/

      It’s a shame really. Burt and a few others have grown on me and I have tried to feel optimistic about the future because I think he truly has Bermudas best interests at heart. I don’t agree with everything he has done, but I think he is trying to do what he thinks is best….not what the old school boys are telling him to do. Then I see press conferences like these that make me step back and scratch my head? I just don’t get it! Give credit where credit is due and admit when you are wrong! the truth will set you free,and people will respect you for it.

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        This whole thing is/was ALL THANKS TO THE OBA! Just give credit where it’s due!

  2. Trump supporter says:

    Do they have solar power buses??!!

  3. nerema says:

    Will Burch repeat the things he said in the HOA on Friday, or does he only spout that crap when he can’t be held responsible?

    • Ringmaster says:

      He shouldn’t be surprised if a major IB company moves its worldwide headquarters from Bermuda after that outburst.

    • wahoo juice says:

      Burch be giving you lot de “finger”!

      24-12 = 356-2 who cares?

  4. jt says:

    Thought perhaps they issuing apologies for their comments in the house re chief justice.

  5. Mark says:

    This project brought to you by the OBA but taken credit by the PLP/Trumps. Lol

  6. Infidelguy says:

    FYI,

    Not that it really matters, but for the benefit of those PLP die-hards who would take credit where credit is not due, this initiative was started in 2016 under an OBA government. Grant Gibbons was the Minister of Economic Development at the time.

    All the hoopla with the press coverage is a overkill….IMO!

  7. Ringmaster says:

    Why a foreign company and not a Bermuda company? More of Bermuda for Foreigners under the PLP.

    • Micro says:

      I’m sure in the future it will be revealed who the friends and family.

      • Switch says:

        You are so full of crap. Did you see the white man on the video clip who was from Canada? Unless he is married to a St David’s islander there is no way he is friends and family!

    • sandgrownan says:

      Because the leading Bermuda bidder had the “wrong” skin tones if you get my drift.

  8. Double S says:

    The real question will the likes of Alvin Williams and Onion Juice et al be marching against another Canadian firm being awarded a highly lucrative Government contract? Probably not. Bet you they won’t even complain.

  9. Family Man says:

    I heard they demanded the solar panels be tinted green in honour of the plp.

  10. Bullseye says:

    Terrible idea. We will overpay and they will equip us with technology that will be obsolete in 5 years needing major maintenance due to the salt there. This is a waste of money. Think it through! What sounds good isnt always good!

    • George says:

      The owners of this development are paid on the output of the plant. One would assume they have to guarantee a certain output. If its not producing at its maximum efficiency then the owners lose money so I am not sure your pessimism is warranted. Utility scale solar PV farms like this have been set up all over the world why would that be the case if they were “a waste of money”. If you apply your argument to the local residential solar PV market it also doesn’t hold water…………..why would people continue to invest in solar PV if the long term return wasn’t there?

  11. Kathy Cervino says:

    Sad that this was not awarded to a Bermudian company. Also sad that 6 MW is a whimpy amount of renewable energy for Bermuda. I wish the PLP and the OBA could focus on the crisis that is facing us with our energy future. We are getting ready to finance (100% debt) a $250 million infrastructure for Ascendant / BELCO. We should all be extremely concerned! There is no reason, the PLP Government of Bermuda could not liaise with the Crown Estate in the UK to obtain the groundwork for seabed leasing for offshore wind which could provide us with an immediate 100 MW of renewable energy which could avert this $250 million infrastructure BELCO is about to make.

  12. Cabbage Head says:

    man the lifeboats warning warning warning, a CANADIAN company my god the airport now this we will all be saying Eh soon, eating moose meat and trudging thru fake snow. And please correct me but i swear i heard on the news a 20 mil dollar project you have to be kidding. Mr Burch are Eskimoes on your anti list?

  13. Onion Puke says:

    PLP:- not putting Bermudian Companies first and never will (unless you own a cruddy ATV)

  14. Really says:

    Can you imagine what would have happened had the OBA politicians talked like Burch and Caine’s did on Friday in the house. You would have marched on the hill and called for their resignations. Look at you continue to carry on over pepper spray when you were rightfully WRONG. My my what a bunch of jokers we have running this island. Stay tuned they have just begun.

  15. cpm says:

    well Well Well, Burch and the plp embracing the airport
    It must be time for a march about something-perhaps mold in schools

  16. This_guy says:

    I know for a fact that this was initiated by the oba during there time in power.

    While the airport project was being finalized, i as a local business owner was being approched by overseas solar companies that specialize in solar farms.

    I think it is a great project but giving the credit to the PLP is lies and more political BS

  17. Mark says:

    What?!? Selling our land to foreigners! Lets march and block parliament!

    • Switch says:

      Not selling the land dummy! RENTING IT to them and they must pay to return it to former state. Pay attention!

      • Toodle-oo says:

        You’d enjoy internet comment boards so much more if only you could distinguish sarcasm .

  18. Hey says:

    Please can we s the total cost of this project and who is getting paid. Also can an independent report be sought, along with a march and protest at the house. Where is the transparency?

    Who is this foreign company, I can’t find any information on them?

  19. Wake up says:

    A Bermuda company? Joking right? Which Bermuda company would you suggest? Oh right – you can’t think of one because there ain’t none! Wake up!

    • Micro says:

      Really? There are a couple Bermudian companies that are fully capable. It’s all about money. We’ll see how the lowest bidder turns out and whether or not there’s some funky business going on behind closed doors.

      The “project” at its simplest is just a bunch of solar cells on a platform, some inverters and a battery bank. Think Lindo’s or Gorham’s roof system but on the ground.

      • sandgrownan says:

        Well, you know there is, the BDA bidders were the wrong colour

    • Hmmm says:

      BE Solar

    • sandgrownan says:

      There were Bermudian bidders, but a ‘certain type’, so shut out….

  20. Datbye says:

    Man so sad was hoping that one day they would extend and reopen this runway to air traffic would have been a better option.

    • frank says:

      this lot should be used as a runway and nothing else there are other government lands that could have been used and what about the local companies

    • Hmmm says:

      Not much sense given the little air traffic. Plus who doesnt like a little crosss wind landing

  21. This_guy says:

    @wakeup… there are multiple bermudian companies that could install this type of equipmennt.

    Do ypu honestly have that little faith in bermudians doing a job?

    Maybe you should join the plp and claim to hire bermudains and claim to put bermudians first. Because you sound just like the PLP…

    Put bermudians first but hire forigners….

  22. This_guy says:

    Thid solar project on the finger is an absolute by product of the airport deal the PLP had fought so hars against but now theybare embracing it and claiming all of the political browine points gsined from it.
    .

    They are useless

    Get rid of the PLP because they have not done a single thing that they have promised.

    They are not transperant, they are not helping the so called bermudian.

  23. Question says:

    They’re privatising our land.

  24. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Just to be clear, while this peninsula is landlocked by the airport …”

    Any security issues?

  25. Jus' Askin' says:

    PLP what a DUMB Deal :-(

  26. puzzled says:

    Never mind

  27. Claire Smith says:

    Initially there was talk of putting in 20 MW of solar power at the airport. Why was this reduced to only 6 MW considering the money that could have been saved with the economies of scale gained by building a larger array.
    Similarly, the “The replacement of fuel costs with solar power will also keep an estimated $20 million or more in our local economy over the course of this project’s lifetime.” The benefits would have then amounted to $66 million.
    At the same time we would have saved a large amount of fossil fuels having to be burnt to generate such power.

    Bermuda is far behind other places in adopting alternative energy.
    In Barbados they have 30MW of solar installed, of which 5MW is on public buildings.
    In Kauai, they have 3,273 residential solar rooftop systems, and on a sunny day 90 percent or more of their power use is from renewable sources in daylight hours.

    In 5 years Solar and battery storage will beat the price of LNG power generation, but BELCO want to lock us into a 30 year commitment to a massive investment in converting to LNG. It is irresponsible to our planet to continue down this fossil fuel dependency road when alternatives are becoming more and more economically valid, and the speed of improved technology and alternative energy efficiencies continues to beat all estimates.
    At the last energy summit the message that rang loud and clear is energy diversification rather than a big system that will soon be uneconomical, not to mention the environmental pollution of LNG fracking.

    • LOL says:

      You posted the same text on the other paper’s website and were busted by three people for being wrong!

      Try to learn from your mistakes.

  28. Whodat says:

    So our illustrious PLP government who created all sorts of hell about the new airport terminal being awarded to a Canadian company, promptly awards the solar panel contract on the airport peninsula to a Canadian company. So much for all their total commitment to Bermuda for Bermudians. What a total load of crap…. There are several Bermudian companies who are completely capable of taking on this project and they should aggressively challenge this decision and march on Parliament together with the BIU who should also be demanding that Bermudian companies be awarded this contract….

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