Battery Energy Storage System Ribbon Cutting

May 20, 2019

The Bermuda Electric Light Company [BELCO] held a ribbon cutting for the new Battery Energy Storage System [BESS], which they called “part of the foundation we are building for a better energy future for Bermuda.”

BELCO President Dennis Pimentel welcomed guests that included Deputy Premier and Minister for Home Affairs Walter Roban. Director of Energy Jeane Nikolai, representatives from SAFT and ABB who designed and built the BESS, local contractors who worked on the project and BELCO staff who have been instrumental in driving the project from concept to final installation and commissioning.

Mr. Pimentel said: “This battery storage system is an exciting project that is just a part of the foundation we are building for a better energy future for Bermuda. BELCO is making great progress on our $200 + million capital plan that has one overriding objective – to better serve our customers with safe, efficient and cost-effective electricity.”

BESS Opening Ceremony Bermuda May 2019

Mr. Pimentel added: “We have several ongoing projects to achieve that goal, and with the completion of this battery storage system, the Company will save approximately $2 million per year. Within a few short years this investment will be paid for and our customers will benefit from reduced operating costs at our plant.

“We continue to make great progress building the new North Power Station [NPS] with four new 14 Mega Watt [MW] engines being delivered this week. AMI metres are being installed across the island and we have launched a new and improved website that allows customers to monitor their electricity usage.

“All these projects are geared towards building the foundation for the next era of BELCO which will leverage technology to provide a much-improved service to our customers.”

“The BESS has been built to provide reserve capacity, in lieu of spinning reserve. Spinning reserve is the reserve capacity that must always be available to feed into the grid to help maintain BELCO’s power generating system stability during emergency operating conditions and unforeseen load swings,” BELCO explained.

“Reserve capacity has traditionally been provided by running engines that are not adding power to the grid, but can do so at a moment’s notice. The BESS will store up to 10 MW of power that can be discharged for up to 30 minutes.

“If there is a problem with generation, the BESS will automatically kick in within 50 milliseconds [0.05 seconds]. This response is three times faster than a standard engine and will help to avoid the load shedding often associated with such events.

“With the BESS facility now operational, it is anticipated that there will be estimated savings of $2 million on fuel and maintenance costs annually whilst allowing BELCO to continue to supply a high reliability of electricity supply. The batteries used in the BESS are lithium ion and have a 20-year lifespan and can be recycled at the end of their useful life.”

Stephanie Simons, BELCO Mechanical Engineer, said: “Having worked on this concept since 2012 and this specific project since 2017, I’m thrilled that the BESS is now up and running. We completed successful commissioning of the system in March and the system has been operating as intended since then. Utilising battery energy storage systems on a utility scale is still relatively new for power companies.

“This system is one of the first of its kind in the Caribbean and innovations like the BESS make Bermuda’s entire electrical network more robust and reliable. The BESS was initially scheduled to be brought online in May but good progress meant it went into service ahead of schedule. Installing battery energy storage moves BELCO one step closer to becoming a ‘Utility 2.0’ system. Equipment modernisation, advanced metering infrastructure and grid upgrades are other examples of ways that, as a company, BELCO is moving into this new paradigm.”

Minister Walter Roban said: “We are encouraged by BELCO’s BESS initiative that aligns with the Ministry’s goal to create a more energy-efficient environment in Bermuda. We are hopeful for the continued strides being made towards cutting costs for consumers and promoting renewable energy on our island.”

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Comments (9)

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  1. Richard A says:

    Way to go BELCO!

  2. BE says:

    More profits for their shareholders as we will never see the cost savings! As a paying member of the public you are welcome BELCO! (Not)

  3. Nick Hutchings says:

    Well done BELCO. Perhaps Ms. Simons can correct me if I am wrong but, as I understand it, power (MW) x time (hours) = energy (MWh) or, in this case, 10 MW x 0.5 hours = 5 MWh making the new BESS a 10 MW/5 MWh system.

    If I am doing my math correctly, this would change the energy produced by three hundred 4 kW rooftop solar systems from intermittent to dispatchable i.e. making solar as reliable as baseload produced by diesel generators but without the emissions.

    The really good news is that battery energy storage systems (BESS) have come way down in price since this system was paid for in 2017. According to an engineer at Saturn Energy, a company that installs large solar farms (including the Finger at L F Wade International Airport) and also utility scale BESS, the cost today is around $500,000 per MWh.

  4. Kathy says:

    Photo op!

  5. Changing Tides says:

    As a shareholder and a Diesel mechanic, I am disappointed Belco have imported 4 new generators to power the island again with fossil fuel.
    Belco should step up to the plate and install a complimentary water powered generator under the Flatts Bridge to prove to the people they are serious about renewable energy.
    Here is a challenge for you Belco – management – shareholders, show us you care about our environment. We are watching

    • JohnnyB says:

      “As a shareholder and a Diesel mechanic”

      In order to understand why they DON’T “install a complimentary water powered generator under the Flatts Bridge” you would have to be an engineer so your statement makes sense. Simply not practical, plus you block access for boats.

      • Dont says:

        And don’t mention wind turbines as that crazy lady in the UK will be on about killing birds again!

      • Toodle-oo says:

        Flatts Bridge hydroelectric turbine , powering about 10 homes . Bermuda’s own Hoover Dam . Where’s your national pride ? lol

  6. Come on man!! says:

    Bloom Energy is the best.