{jb_quote}You never change things by fighting existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete{/jb_quote}

~ Buckminster Fuller, 1895-1983

The world energy industry is in the throes of significant technological and policy change, and so is Bermuda. We have an unprecedented opportunity to move toward a sustainable energy model. Presently, electricity on the island is supplied almost entirely by Belco’s diesel-fuel-oil generators. Belco is expecting to retire almost 50% of their generators in the next six years. At the same time, Bermuda’s Department of Energy is developing a new Energy Policy and establishing an independent Regulatory Authority. Greenrock is advocating to use this opportunity to transition towards a more sustainable energy portfolio.

In 2011 the Energy White Paper set a goal of 30% renewable energy by 2020 and a reduction in Bermuda’s CO2 emissions below 10 metric tonnes equivalent by 2020. However, the Government has not reiterated their support for the these goals, subsidies for residential solar power have been withdrawn, and the cap of 200 solar roofs, set in 2009, has not been revised. Renewable technology has been advancing rapidly in the last 5 years and becoming more efficient and cost effective. At the same time the threat posed by global climate change has become more obvious and immediate. Bermuda needs a clear and rational energy policy to address these threats and take advantage of the opportunities.

 

Energy Policy Development Conversations

Figure title: Bermuda Demand curves: from Belco Public Presentation 2011

 

Greenrock sits on the Bermuda Energy Working Group (an advisory group convened by the Department of Energy) and is also a member of the Energy Coalition (a loose group of energy stakeholders on the island who maintain a conversation about energy issues).

 

In addition we respond to public consultations on energy policy, and rate rise requests that Belco sends to the Energy Commission. If you would like to discuss energy policy or opportunities - contact Greenrock on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comparison with other islands:

In the long term we must significantly reduce our reliance on imported fuel. Renewable energy is not only an environmentally friendly option, but also allows us to retain control of our electricity generation, and to retain the investment on the island. The experience on other islands suggest that we could replace a significant portion of our daily electricity with solar electricity. Building efficiencies could reduce our electricity demand by 10-20%,  and peak (or better: real-time) energy pricing, facilitated by ‘smart meters’, could significantly reduce the load at times of day not served by solar.

 

The charts below compare Bermuda with the islands of Kauai and Aruba.

 

Figure title: Comparison of proposed generating capacity and electricity sales in 2020
(* Bermuda proposed is “Bermuda Aspirational Matrix B” from the consultation document for the new Bermuda Energy Policy)

Kaua’i and Aruba have similar policy and regulatory approaches, which contrast with Bermuda in the following ways:

 

Kaua’i and Aruba

Bermuda

Commitment to a sustainable energy model and ongoing political support:

Both set challenging renewable energy portfolio goals

Hawaii has established the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative and other working groups to support sustainable energy

Aruba supported the initiatives at the highest political level and made it a pillar of the economy

Little interest, no renewable energy or efficiency targets (despite recommendations going back to 2009)

Bermuda is suffering from an economic recession and is focusing on investment growth and cutting government spending (Richards, 2015). Energy prices and the environment are not a high priority for the Government or Bermuda  residents

Emphasis on Efficiency:

Aruba in particular emphasizes both generating efficiency, and efficient usage of electricity. Both Aruba and Kaua’i have building efficiency standards, and Aruba has a pilot “Smart Community” to study behavior.

Little interest in efficiency

While the Department of Energy and the local utility both provide informational pamphlets on energy efficiency, there are no loan programs, very few favorable tariff programs and no efficiency goals.

Environmental and social externalities included in energy decisions

Utility decisions don’t include social or environmental externalities

Willingness to innovate

Both have explored alternative storage systems.

Aruba has emphasized partnerships with research institutions to bring innovation on to the island

Risk averse culture

Belco insists on technology which is commercial proven and for which support is widely available

Utilities incentives aligned with the new model

KIUC has maintained a commitment to lower energy prices, but sustainability and community are a core part of their mission.

Hawaii has applied to change the energy rating structure to decouple revenue from volumetric sales

While publicly owned utilities in Aruba are still expected to make a profit, they are not required to pay a dividend to shareholders

Utility and government incentives aligned with higher electricity sales

Sales are volumetric for all sectors (beyond a small fixed charge) with an inclined block tariff for residential consumers, but a reverse incline block structure for hotels (lower prices the more electricity consumed).

Government receives $15.10/barrel of oil in government duty and Foreign Currency Purchase Tax (Belco Annual Report 2013)

Stable indirect incentives, such as feed-in-tariffs and long-term power-purchase agreements

Bermuda has no standard licenses or power purchase agreements – lack of standardized agreement makes it hard to find potential investors for commercial scale renewable energy projects

 

Greenrock Energy Policy Recommendations:

An energy sector which will be fit for purpose in 30 or 40 years’ time will value energy efficiency over generating power, the utility and the community will both contribute, it will reinvest in the island, and be environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.  

Greenrock’s policy and regulatory recommendations for Bermuda are:

  1. Set Building Efficiency Standards and invest in Energy Efficiency

    • Consider an electricity tariff structure which reduces the emphasis on volumetric pricing and increases the incentive for energy efficiency

    • Reduce or eliminate duty on high efficiency components such as timers and LED lights. Require imported appliances to have Energy Star ratings (where possible)

  2. Invest in a ‘smarter grid’

    • Use cost and price signals to increase system efficiency, for example through time of day or real-time pricing

    • Harness advanced information technology (a ‘smart grid’) and interactive Demand Management to manage variability

  3. Set and support Renewable Energy Targets

    • Eliminate the customs duty on renewable energy systems and components

    • Include social and environmental externalities in cost-benefit analyses

    • Provide standardized licenses and PPAs for commercial scale renewable energy installations

    • Allow equal access to the grid for all forms of energy - require grid development which supports distributed energy

About Greenrock

According to The Footprint Network, which measures the ability of the planet to produce resources and absorb waste, our resource use and waste production is 60% more than the earth can produce or absorb annually.

This overshoot is the result of decisions that we each make every day. We seek to generate debate and to influence people to change their behaviour.We strive to be catalysts: Success for us is when we can Change the Mindset so that sustainable use of resources is included in decision-making for individuals, government or businesses. ... read more


Where to find Us

Suite 324, 48 Par-La-Ville Rd,
Hamilton HM11, Bermuda

Telephone: 1-441-747-ROCK (7625)
Email: info@greenrock.org
Website: www.greenrock.org