This week Belco applied for planning permission to install a wind turbine and solar panels at a house in Warwick. The company aims to use the property as a 'beta site' ¿ an experiment into the feasibility of introducing micro-renewable energy sources into homes in Bermuda.

A company-owned cottage in Middle Road will trial the costs, practicality and aesthetic value of alternative forms of power. A Belco employee will live at the property, testing combinations of traditional energy with solar panels to heat water and a micro wind turbine to generate electricity. At the end of the year, Belco will then take members of the public on tours of the house to gauge their reactions. Andrew Vaucrosson, vice president of Greenrock, said the initiative was a move in the right direction, but that there needed to be more cooperation with the sustainable development group.

"Some of Greenrock's members, and those entrepreneurs that Greenrock has been working with, have been pleading with Belco for several years to look at alternative energy forms," said Mr. Vaucrosson.

"The Government's Sustainable Development Strategy and Implementation Plan makes a strong case for a comprehensive Energy Plan. Greenrock supports this initiative but feels that an independent group supported by Government and Belco should be given the responsibility, rather than leaving it to a utility company that has a monopoly.

"Greenrock would encourage Government and Belco to collaborate with our organisation to help develop the standards to ensure that home wind generators are properly installed and can be easily available to any homeowner.

"Greenrock would also encourage further discussions with Belco to look at ways where residential homes could possibly sell 'excess' power back to Belco as a means to minimise the power output that Belco requires in 2010."

The non-profit organisation is also trying to introduce wind turbine technologies to the Island. Wind power was showcased to the public at Greenrock's Festival of Music in June, together with solar panels, BioDiesel and electric scooters.

"We are currently working on many more applications," said Mr. Vaucrosson.

"Greenrock has always advocated the importance of sustainability and this truly starts at home. We are currently trying to get two existing wind turbine technologies into Bermuda that are working in other countries very successfully. They can generate up to 4 to 8 kilowatts of power. These units are also designed to provide power to commercial energy users or large estates requiring 15 kilowatts or higher."

He urged more action by consumers to kickstart installation of renewable energy sources.

"The general public needs to get involved now, not later," said Mr. Vaucrosson.

"Bermuda needs to start thinking in micro ways in order to provide macro solutions. We encourage people to visit our site and sign up, so that you can be involved in a movement whose goal is to 'change the mindset' when it comes to sustainable lifestyles."

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