Greenrock: Bermuda At An “Energy Crossroads”

May 27, 2017

Greenrock has acknowledged BELCO’s statement, saying that “it comes as no surprise that the existing plant is nearing the end of its life and that BELCO desperately needs to replace it – this was made clear in their 2012 North Power Station plan.”

A spokesperson said, “At the same time, the reality of human induced climate change is clearer than ever, both in terms of the science behind it and in the now more observable impacts on our planet and our island.

“Bermuda, and the planet, is now at an energy crossroads.

“To have some hope of minimising the effects of climate change, all countries must take steps to transition to a low carbon economy as soon as practicable. That includes us in Bermuda.

“This is the stark choice before us – actively transition away from fossil fuels and reduce the impact of climate change, or continue as we are with the consequent damage to our environment that will ensue. For Greenrock the choice is obvious – we have an ethical and existential need to transition away from fossil fuels.

“We do not consider BELCO’s LNG proposals as a viable compromise.

“LNG is not the low carbon fuel that it is being presented as to the public at large. LNG is dependent on the extraction of shale gas, which involves significant emissions of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is an incredibly powerful greenhouse gas, more than 100 times greater in absorbing heat than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere [although it decomposes more quickly, it is still more than 80 times greater when averaged over a 20 year period].

“When these methane emissions are included in the life-cycle analysis of LNG we find that it has an even larger greenhouse gas footprint than coal or oil. To portray LNG as a low carbon fuel is to traffic in sleights of hand.

“Furthermore, LNG is increasingly dependent on fracking. Evidence from peer-reviewed scientific studies shows that fracking can lead to air pollution, ground and surface water contamination, radioactive releases, noise and light pollution, induced earthquakes, greenhouse gas emissions, occupational health and safety hazards and competition for access to water.

“While these problems may not manifest themselves in Bermuda, we have to ask ourselves if we want to have our hands dirtied by it.

“As an alternative to BELCO’s LNG proposals, Greenrock supports the following:

  • Replacing outdated generators with more efficient ones. This will still use fossil fuel, but can do so more efficiently, and cheaply [avoiding the massive infrastructure costs which will lock us into LNG usage for decades to come] while providing us with the time to transition away from fossil fuels.
  • An aggressive national plan to [a] ensure greater energy efficiency in technology; and [b] engage in energy conservation measures to reduce the overall demand for electricity.
  • A national plan to support the uptake of renewable energy technologies. The recent action to remove the support for solar panels was counterproductive in this way – we need to instead be actively supporting and subsidising these new technologies.

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Category: All, Environment

Comments (2)

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  1. The Guy says:

    What about LP gas as an alternate?

  2. Kathy says:

    This is a well written article deserving of much more attention. BELCO and the Bermuda Government know we have to transition away from fossil fuels. They just economically don’t benefit from doing so. The Government will lose its import duty on oil imported to the island and BELCO profits more from LNG. There is no incentive or motivation to change our ways!

    The people of Bermuda need to step up and let their voices be heard. Do we want to pay for the LNG infrastructure not knowing how long LNG will actually be around? Some utilities in Australia are already changing from a new LNG infrastructure to renewable energy because they are unsure of the price of LNG and also unsure of its 20-30 year future supply.

    We are the ones who will pay for the infrastructure, not BELCO, so if this is something we don’t want, we need to SPEAK NOW or FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS HOLD OUR PEACE on the cost and type of energy!!