Proposing a renewable future for Bermuda

One of our team is Bermudian and keeps in touch with the energy sector on the island. An opportunity came up to help a local company develop a more progressive energy strategy for the island, and Etude undertook work in support on renewable generation, grid integration and demand reduction. It was really interesting work that blossomed into crowdfunding, video production, town hall meetings and front-page news.

An integrated resource plan putting energy efficiency and renewables first

In 2018 Bermuda’s energy regulator asked the island’s power company, BELCO, to submit a plan for the future of electricity generation on the island. Unfortunately, the plan proposed continuing to generate most of the island’s electricity from expensive and polluting imported fossil fuel oil. The majority of Bermuda’s energy remarkably still comes from shipped imported fuel oil.

Bermuda Engineering Company Limited (BE Solar) commissioned Etude to prepare a more sustainable plan: the Bermuda Better Energy Plan. We put together an alternative Integrated Resource Plan for the island. Our detailed technical and financial analysis demonstrated that the proportion of renewable energy in Bermuda’s electricity mix could be increased to 64%. It would make economic sense due to the continued reduction in cost of wind turbines and PVs. We also looked in detail at demand reduction options for the island, where cooling and transport are major consumers.

A change in energy strategy was shown to result in less money being spent on energy imports, more local jobs in renewable energy and more money for Bermuda’s local economy. It would help to prepare the island for the future and will help to produce more affordable clean electricity.

Etude sustainability Better Energy Plan Integrated resource plan Bermuda 5

Crowd funding a consultation response

To allow much needed further work and to keep up momentum we set up a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Individuals donated $21,350 to enable us to continue our work, involve specialists and to develop, communicate and promote the plan. We are really humbled by their generosity, and have been truly inspired by the many fantastic people who are giving so much to achieve this better future, particularly the BE Solar team and Greenrock. Beyond the robust technical work undertaken, our active, open and honest collaboration with them has been amazing.

There have now been more than 890 responses (1.4% of the population) to the public consultation on the future of electricity in Bermuda, the overwhelming majority are in support of the Bermuda Better Energy Plan. This is an incredible number, so much more than the target of 150 we were initially hoping for!

There has also been widespread media coverage including a numerous newspaper articles and opinion pieces, radio interviews, television reports and healthy discussion on social media. This not only created a public debate on the issue of Bermuda’s energy future, but wide support for the Bermuda Better Energy Plan (BBEP). We are eagerly waiting to see further development on Bermudian energy policy, hopefully for a renewable future.