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BELCO files Integrated Resource Plan with Regulators

BELCO files Integrated Resource Plan with Regulators

Hamilton, Bermuda (June 30, 2016) – In accordance with the Energy Commission (EC) directive to release an Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) by June 30, 2016,  BELCO today submitted the IRP to the EC. The IRP is a technical and economic analysis of future energy mix options for Bermuda aligning with the objectives of The National Electricity Sector Policy of Bermuda.  As per the Electricity Act 2016, the utility is required to file an IRP that serves as the catalyst for national discussion leading to a regulatory decision process on future energy choices.  

The IRP was developed in consultation with U.S. based engineering consultants, Leidos Engineering LLC, a leading systems integration company focused on the utility industry. The IRP studied supply and demand-side activities and provides a ranking of energy planning scenarios based on economic and qualitative factors including supply quality, environmental sustainability, security and cost resilience, logistics and economic development.

The main objective of the IRP is to recommend options for alternative sustainable energy sources for electricity generation that will help to stabilize prices, reduce carbon emissions, integrate more renewable energy into Bermuda’s energy mix and improve energy efficiency on the part of both the utility and customers that can ultimately reduce overall cost. 

Based on extensive analyses, the IRP suggests transitioning to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as the primary fuel source for electricity generation, implementing utility-scale solar renewable energy, battery energy storage for spinning reserve and to support the intermittency of renewable generation, aggressive energy efficiency initiatives and wide promotion of conservation.

The IRP studied seven energy planning scenarios:

  • (Case 1) As a reference case, the status quo - fuel oil generation with no utility scale renewable energy, battery storage or aggressive demand-side management, energy efficiency and conservation
  • (Case 2) Aspirational Mix - as contained in The National Electricity Sector Policy of Bermuda document including the conceptual use of future base load zero emissions technology.
  • (Case 3) Least Cost - includes partial generation using Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) with energy efficiency and conservation, but no utility scale renewable energy, demand-side management or battery storage
  • (Case 4) Full conversion to LNG – LNG to the central BELCO plant with utility-scale renewable energy, battery storage, demand-side management and energy efficiency and conservation
  • (Case 5) Fuel oil – with utility scale renewable, battery storage, demand-side management, energy efficiency and conservation
  • (Case 6) Partial conversion to LPG – remote location for 60 megawatt (MW) LPG generation, diesel at BELCO, utility scale renewable energy, battery storage, demand-side management, energy efficiency and conservation
  • (Case 7) Partial conversion to LNG – remote location for 50 MW LNG generation, diesel at BELCO, utility scale renewable energy, demand-side management, energy efficiency and conservation

 Subsequent to an initial simulation of the seven scenarios and combined quantitative and qualitative scoring, four cases (4,5,6 & 7) were highlighted  from the list based on their plausibility and alignment with The National Electricity Policy.

 BELCO recognizes that there are a number of other supply and demand-side generating resources that could be considered, such as fuel cell technology, offshore wind, biomass, landfill gas, ice storage and ocean power.  However, for the purposes of the IRP the evaluation focuses on technologies and fuels that have been tested and proven or display a high likelihood of technical and economic success.  BELCO continues to monitor ongoing developments and the feasibility of these and other technologies.

As explained within the IRP,  the up-coming national debate and decision-making as to the best next steps will require Bermuda to examine and determine a number of trade-offs in order to come to the best solution that meets The National Electricity Policy objectives of least-cost and high-quality, environmentally sustainable, secure and affordable electricity.  

BELCO has been steadily working on energy planning for over a decade during which time the Company has been involved in multiple and extensive consultations with stakeholders. The 2006 Electric System Discussion document was presented to Government, numerous individual government departments, the Opposition, the business community and many other stakeholders in an attempt to stimulate discussion on the decisions that now still need to be made to ensure Bermuda maintains a reliable, but sustainable energy infrastructure.  

The 2006 Electric System Discussion Document was followed by “The New Energy Equation” document that was also widely shared.  In 2009, following a BELCO issued Solicitation of Interest for Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects, BELCO hosted public meetings at the Bermuda College with a number of potential participants interested in Biomass, Solar, Wind and Ocean projects. In 2010, over 700 people attended a two-day Open House event at BELCO where the discussion documents were also shared and discussed.

Over the past several years Bermuda has seen the beginnings of a transformation of the energy industry, which now needs to provide the new regulatory structure that can move the industry forward. In 2009, the Energy Act was passed, moving regulatory responsibility for the energy industry from the former Price Control Commission to the EC. Following the Government’s 2009 Energy Green Paper and 2010 White Paper, in 2015 The National Electricity Sector Policy of Bermuda was released and in March 2016 the Legislature passed the Electricity Act that will move regulatory responsibility from the EC to the Regulatory Authority. It is important that these changes to the regulatory environment are timely and can facilitate the discussion and decision making process that needs to take place.




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