“High Levels Of Renewable Energy Resources”

July 25, 2019 | 14 Comments

The Regulatory Authority launched Bermuda’s Integrated Resource Plan which will use “high levels of renewable energy resources,” with the RA saying the plan includes adding utility-scale solar photovoltaic and wind power via an offshore wind farm.

A spokesperson said, “The Regulatory Authority, today announced the launch of Bermuda’s first Integrated Resource Plan [“IRP”], which outlines the framework for Bermuda’s energy requirements over the next 25 years. The IRP will use high levels of renewable energy resources to deliver cost-effective, sustainable and reliable sources of power for the island.

“Guided by Bermuda’s Energy and Fuel Policy objectives, the RA conducted a 20 month-long process, which included requesting BELCO to submit a proposal to meet the IRP criteria, the analysis of its submission, the receipt and the review of 8 alternative proposals, and feedback regarding those proposals from over 800 people during the public consultation.

“As a result of the RA’s analysis, two distinct options emerged: 1] liquified natural gas as a fuel source with additional renewable energy and 2] no liquified natural gas with very high renewable energy penetration. The RA selected the high renewable option which will yield the lowest long-term cost for a non-natural gas solution, while exceeding Bermuda’s renewable energy policy objective.

Chairperson of the RA, Angela Berry commented: “We know that business as usual is not sustainable. We also know that investing in a natural gas solution would continue our dependency on fossil fuels for up to 50 years and provide fewer diverse investment opportunities.

“Therefore, the RA is confident that the energy plan will help to stabilize the cost of electricity, provide jobs to construct and support the new renewables infrastructure, increase investment opportunities for local and international investors, reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and place Bermuda significantly ahead of its renewables target.”

“The RA will move as quickly as possible to implement the IRP. Within the first six years of the plan, the island is slated to add 21 megawatts [“MW”] of utility-scale solar photovoltaic, up to 30 MW of distributed generation e.g. residential and small scale solar, 60 MWs of wind power via an offshore wind farm, while specific engines at the Belco plant that are dependent on fossil fuels will be decommissioned. Biomass generation as another source of renewable energy is scheduled for deployment by 2028.

“The next steps in the IRP implementation include conducting several pre-feasibility studies to – a] quantify the maximum amount of solar capacity available and future requirements b] undertake an investment grade study regarding the use of wind power and c] determine the feasibility of introducing biomass generation into the energy mix.

“Ms. Berry added “It is important to note that the IRP is a living document, and as such, the RA will conduct another IRP within the next three to four years to include the results of the pre-feasibility studies, to identify new changes in technology and gauge public sentiment regarding energy.”

“For detailed information regarding the IRP, please visit www.rab.bm.”

The full Bermuda Integrated Resource Plan follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (14)

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  1. Johnnyb says:

    You will be letting yourself down if you think utility scale renewables will significantly decrease your bill. You still have to pay for Belco to be on stand by, you still need to pay for the grid, you still need to pay for maintenance on the engines and wind turbines, the list goes on. While renewables are better for the environment they are ridiculously expensive.

    • Damion Wilson says:

      You should read the IRP. Rather than relying on off the cuff declarations, it actually studies the cost of procurement and generation. Better still, read the (original) Better Bermuda Energy Plan.

      In every jurisdiction they’re deployed, wind and PV are cheaper, even in places where they have native coal or methane resources. And, coupled with battery storage, they’re able to replace fossil fuel generation.

      I do agree that Ascendent/Algonquin are unlikely to pass too much of that savings on to us though

    • Hi Johnnyb,

      Thanks a lot for the important thought. This is a myth still perpetuated in some circles, typically based on old or erroneous data, but those myths have been busted.

      The reality is that the reason that much of the world is investing in renewable energy as an increasing proportion of electricity generation is because renewable energy is significantly less expensive than fossil fuel generation, it’s the economics.

      This fact is well established in both the IRP as well as in the https://www.betterenergyplan.bm/ comprehensive report and the 4-page summary. It would be recommended to have a good read of these objective reports in addressing all the querries, including costs of generators on standy (spinning reserve), grid costs, maintenance and stranded asset costs etc. These are very important considerations that have been accounted for, among others, thanks a lot for bringing them back up.

      If further real-world evidence is needed please note that the airport solar finger project here in Bermuda comes in at 10.4 cents per kWh unit of electricity (vs. over 45 cents for retail electricity costs from Belco, over 13 cents in fuel adjustment alone). Also note that in Hawaii’s smaller island of Kauai, a solar PLUS battery renewable energy system per unit of energy costs come in at 14 cents, pretty much what we pay for fuel adjustment alone right now! https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2018/02/solar-plus-storage-helps-kauai-beat-diesel-power-prices.html

      The main point to remember in regards to renewable energy is the fuel is free and maintenance is significantly less per unit of electricity compared to fossil fuel electricity generation.

      Recall that in Bermuda we spend/export over $80 Million US dollars of our hard earned money to simply burn oil. That’s over 1,000 jobs that could be created if that money stayed here and stimulated the local economy instead.

      That’s the beauty of renewable energy, it saves money, creates more local jobs and happens to help with the most important issue of our lives. Climate Change is very real and we need to act much faster to address it. In Bermuda Climate Change will hit us and our children hard, its time to get real, the solutions are here and now and this IRP is progress.
      https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49086783

      Happy to discuss further in person at 279 5907 or email stuart@besolar.bm. We need to work together for a stronger more resilient and prosperous Bermuda, thank you.

      Sunny and kind regards,
      Stuart Kriendler

    • George says:

      Why is there a 6MW solar PV utility scale project being built at the Airport if renewables are “ridiculously expensive”? Why have more than 400 residential home owners invested in small scale solar PV for their own homes if they are “ridiculously expensive”? The former is being built because it guarantees a return on investment over 20 years of at least 6-8% (est.), the later because electricity can be produced at a fraction of the cost that BELCO can produce it, saving the home owners $1000′s over the life of the systems. So the only thing which is “ridiculously expensive” is the time you waste spinning lies about renewables!

      • Johnnyb says:

        You mean the 6mw solar finger PV that can’t get funding to build because of terrible margins?

        • George says:

          You mean the 6mw Solar Finger PV project that is currently under construction because investors know a good thing when they see one? Stop with the lies and speculation Johnny B, you only make yourself look a fool!

  2. Observer says:

    What is the Govenemnts plan to fund these initiatives and what sort of plan will be in place to integrate these plans of grandeur into the grid for a cheaper price. Also where is the study that was done to say that Bermuda has sustainable winds to run a 60MW wind farm.what is the RA’s plan when the wi d forsnt blow? Or the sun doesnt shine…. ok battery storage…..how much will that cost?? Where are all the studies that prove this mix is feasable for Bermuda. We have a shrinking population with limited resources to fund large scale projects like these being proposed. So you get a foreign investor, they want there return on invest at the cost of the remaining people who haven’t our shores will have to pay obscene costs as we are now due to poor decisions. The government can reduce the fuel tax, that reduces everyone’s bill on electricity. Just an observation to this plan.

    • George says:

      Its a chicken and egg scenario, if Bermuda can not show that it is serious about allowing for the development of RE technology at a utility scale then no investor is going to consider investing. The IRP is the legislated first step (its mandated in the RA Act that an IRP be created) to allow for the feasibility studies be commissioned to determine if each of the technologies proposed is financially and technologically viable. Government is not proposing to invest in these projects, only facilitate the development of them if they are deemed viable (i.e. Airport Solar Project). The IRP process is iterative being reviewed every so many years to ensure that due diligence is done. As far as fuel tax is concerned – the Government needs to make sure it does not cut its nose off despite its face – tax revenue is essential to its survival obviously.

      • Observer says:

        With the tax they should be review alternative means of collecting the fuel tax currently. As the 36 million they currently get from Belco per year is the direct result in why people’s Bill’s are higher. I dont agree with you chicken and egg scenario as the energy green paper has been out for some time now and everyone has not put there focus on it until put out cry of utility Bill’s started to rise in cost. Yes, Belco is running less efficient equipment shame on them for not updating sooner. However, the government and the RA should have been proactive in forecasting the future energy needs of Bermuda.

  3. Chris Worboys says:

    Fantastic evidence based decision by the RAB. Detailed cost modelling in the Bermuda Better Energy Plan, and now also in the RAB’s IRP has consistently demonstrated that accounting for all of these costs, renewable energy offers a lower and more stable long-term cost option. The fact BELCO has signed a power purchase agreement to buy solar for 10.3 cents a kWh from the airport solar project, which is less than their fuel costs alone, is evidence enough that renewable energy in Bermuda is the cheapest option :)

  4. voltage says:

    Very interesting development and a welcomed shift from the BELCO orchestrated, managed and controlled delivery system we have experienced in Bermuda since BELCO’s founding.

    Now the more serious arguments about who will get their money will come forward as the BELCO shareholders react and the RA comes under increased pressure. This is a classic game of brinkmanship in Bermuda unfolding – between private money and social good.

    The same board leadership at Ascendant brought us Americas Cup and The Bermuda Community Foundation – how are all their promises of a better future working out for Mr. and Mrs. Bermuda today?

  5. Observer says:

    After reading this IRP there is no mention if reduction in the fuel tax that is currently levied against the fuel that is burned in the making of electricity. Where will the government generate this tax once this reduces with the high penetration of renewable generated power.

  6. imjustsaying says:

    Look how nice and green the plants look all around Bermuda. We should be increasing C02 not decreasing it. A team of ten scientists have proven that the climate scientists made a mistake forty years ago they tracked down who it was and how they did it. They multiplied all their midrange best estimates of how much global warming we might cause by 3 so if you correct the error the global warming problem disappears. C02 is plant food. NASA satellites are showing the earth greening because there has been a 40 percent increase of C02. If you double the C02 in the air draughts world wide would no longer be a problem. In the last 40 years draught ares have been less and less. Very large areas of the southern Sahara that was really dry is now beginning to turn green again. C02 is good for all life on earth. If deplete all C02 in Bermuda this island will turn into a desert island. People please stop falling for the Climate Fraud

    • Genius says:

      I heard of this team of 10 scientists as well. They found that smoking doesn’t cause any diseases, the earth is actually flat and the moon is made from a mixture of cheese string and peanut M&Ms. It’s weird though, none of the other scientists in the world agree with them.

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