Over the past decade, BELCO has submitted numerous energy plans and consultation documents for consideration and approval by the various Government Administrations and regulatory bodies. Without achieving the necessary permissions, we were unable to proceed with the infrastructure upgrades and replacements. As a result, we now find ourselves and the Country at a major tipping point. The following chronology provides the details of the various actions BELCO has undertaken since 2005.
HOW WE GOT HERE
New Generators In Production
The 4 new dual-fuel generators, which will be housed in the new North Power Station, are put into production in Germany
BELCO conducts traffic disruption research
BELCO worked with an overseas specialist traffic count firm to assess the local impact of closing Cemetery Road during the construction phase of the North Power Station.
North Power Station contract became live
The first phase of the North Power Station construction process began, focusing on engineering planning.
BELCO signs $107.5million North Power Station financing deal
Ascendant Group Ltd., BELCO’s parent company, announced that loans had been arranged by HSBC Bank Bermuda Ltd. and HSBC Securities (USA), Inc. The financing includes a US$91.4m, 12 year export finance loan.
Planning permission granted for the North Power Station
BELCO received planning permission to install a new powerhouse, to house 4 new 14 megawatt dual-fuel diesel engines, with a 65 metre chimney on the BELCO site between Cemetery Road and St. John’s Road in Pembroke.
BELCO Starts AMI Education Campaign
BELCO began an Island-wide education campaign on the benefits, usage and roll-out plan of the new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (‘AMI’) meters and network
RA releases Integrated Resource Plan (‘IRP’) for public consultation
The Regulatory Authority of Bermuda launched a 60 day consultation period, giving the public the opportunity to review BELCO’s IRP and participate in the process which will shape Bermuda’s electricity future.
North Power Station construction contract signed
BWSC and BELCO agreed a partnership contract for the civil works and construction of the North Power Station.
New generators approved
The Regulatory Authority approved BELCO’s application to install 4 dual-fuel engines with a total power output of 56 megawatts.
BELCO granted Transmission, Distribution and Retail licence
BELCO was granted the licence to transmit, distribute and retail electricity within the territorial limits of Bermuda by the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda.
BELCO granted Bulk Generation licence
BELCO was granted the Bulk Generation licence by the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda. The licence grants BELCO permission to engage in the Bulk Generation of electricity for Bermuda.
RA Consultants tour BELCO plant and report to RA
Following a request by the RA, on 1, 2 and 3 March 2017, the RA’s engineering consultant met with BELCO’s Management and Staff and assessed BELCO’s plant and grid.
BELCO submits “Capital Plan” to RA
Following receipt of guidance from the RA with respect to the required contents of the Capital Plan, the Capital Plan was submitted to the RA on 28 February 2017.
Establishment of Regulatory Authority (RA)
After the Electricity Act 2016 became operative and the RA assumed responsibility for the electricity sector, BELCO’s Management Team met with the RA staff on 8 November 2016 to discuss the new relationship and a way forward with respect to BELCO’s capital needs for replacement generation, grid infrastructure and LNG as a fuel source for generation.
Electricity Act comes into operation
The Act came into operation on 28 October 2016.
BELCO 2016 IRP submitted to the Energy Commission – No decision made
In addition to utility scale solar PV, energy efficiency and conservation, distributed generation and battery energy storage, the 2016 IRP recommended construction of the North Power Station as a dual-fuel plant that would operate on fuel oil initially and then be converted to operate on natural gas when it becomes available. The Government recognizes the value of an IRP as supported in the 2015 National Electricity Sector Policy and 2016 Electricity Act.
Replacement generation at BELCO needed
On review of the IRP, and in consultation with the Board, Senior Management and Engineering Team, it was confirmed that BELCO must retire 80 MW of plant by December 2019-March 2020. The extension of the life of the identified generation assets can no longer be sustained from a cost basis and the threat of failure has become increasingly inevitable. The system is also in need of upgraded grid infrastructure, as the grid cannot support the proposed developments on the east and west ends of the Island. There is also a need for advanced metering technology in our grid system to support energy conservation efforts at both the utility and household levels.
Government releases National Electricity Sector Policy
The Policy included the work of the Energy Working Group, as well as the outcome of consultations with energy sector stakeholders and the public held in November 2014 and January–February 2015. It defines how the Government will pursue four electricity sector objectives:
- Least cost and high-quality electricity service that is delivered at the lowest possible financial cost, without compromising safety standards or failing end users’ expectations for reliability and customer service;
- Environmentally sustainable electricity service that, over time, does not cause economic harm to Bermuda’s sensitive natural environment or cause economic harm to the global environment;
- Secure electricity service that is provided using a mix of primary energy options that are procured from reliable sources and under terms that make Bermuda resilient to shocks (such as dramatic changes in the availability or price of fuels, or the introduction of binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions); and
- Affordable electricity service that allows all Bermudians to pay for at least a basic supply, while preserving (where cross-subsidies for ensuring basic supply are involved) the competitiveness of Bermuda’s productive sector.
Third Party (UtiliWorks) approval of the safety of AMI meters
BELCO develops “Integrated Resource Plan” (IRP)
Following the unsuccessful North Power Station tariff appeal, BELCO introduced an industry best practice methodology for energy planning, the IRP. Utilities are frequently required by legislation or regulation to undertake planning efforts that are then reviewed by the Government Regulator. The IRP is a plan for meeting forecasted annual peak power and energy demand plus reserve margin, through a combination of supply-side and demand-side resources. With the reduction in electricity due to the recession and the Island’s desire for alternatives following the new economic landscape that had seen fuel oil price volatility, BELCO committed resources to the intensive exercise required by an IRP. Between 2013–2016 BELCO developed multiple IRPs. Following a directive issued by the Energy Commission, on 30 June 2016 BELCO submitted the BELCO 2016 IRP to the Energy Commission.
Energy Commission rejects North Power Station tariff increase
Unfortunately, on 17 February 2012, the Energy Commission advised in writing that it would not approve the tariff increase required by BELCO to construct the North Power Station. BELCO subsequently appealed to the Minister responsible for Energy regarding the Energy Commission’s decision and the Minister chose to uphold the Commission’s directive.
BELCO negotiates engineering, procurement and construction contract for North Power Station
In Q1 2012 BELCO had a Turn-key Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract fully negotiated and ready for execution subject to approval of the BELCO North Power Station Rate Case that was filed with the Energy Commission on 26 October 2011.
Received final planning permission for North Power Station
In Q1 2012, Final Planning Permission was granted by the Department of Planning for the North Power Station development; this was supported by extensive public consultation. Included in the public consultation was a 2-day open house that was attended by 725 people and a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Statement.
BELCO develops “New Energy Equation Plan” and submits planning application for phased redevelopment of its Central Plant (North Power Station)
Between 2010-2012, BELCO developed the New Energy Equation Plan. It was an updated Central Plant Development Plan that aimed to achieve a more balanced and sustainable energy portfolio, inclusive of large scale renewables and natural gas as an alternative fuel, in accordance with the White Paper. BELCO also filed an application to the Department of Planning for phased re-development of the Central Plant, which included construction of the North Power Station, supported by comprehensive geotechnical, topographical and environmental studies. Benefits associated with installing the new North Power Station included: lower electricity cost due to increased efficiency and lower fuel cost and reduced environmental impact when compared to the existing older facilities.
Government releases Energy White Paper
Work first began on the White Paper in August 2009 with extensive consultation with industry members, other Government departments and non-Governmental organizations. The White Paper was released in July 2011.
Emergency/Peaking Gas Turbines (GT6, GT7 & GT8) commissioned
Special Development Order Application for emergency/peaking gas turbines granted
For emergency/peaking Gas Turbines (GT6, GT7 & GT8) the Special Development Order (SDO) Application was granted in June 2009.
Government releases Energy Green Paper
In February 2009 the Green Paper was released. Between February and October 2009, over 50 organizations were invited to respond by offering their views on the policy proposals and technical options outlined in the document. Invitations for response were extended to industry associations, businesses, and non-governmental organizations representing a wide range of interests from engineering, architecture and transportation to the environment and sustainable development. BELCO supported the public consultation process with presentations.
BELCO issues Large Scale Renewables Solicitation Of Interest (SOI)
In September 2008, BELCO issued an SOI for Large-Scale Renewable Energy projects. We received a total of 15 proposals, covering a variety of renewable energy projects that included large scale Solar PV at the Airport Finger, Offshore Wind, Ocean Energy, Waste-to-Energy and Biomass. After extensive review of the proposals, BELCO brought the shortlisted candidates to Bermuda to meet with the Government and to present their proposals at public forums. At that time, the Government did not pursue any of the large scale renewable options presented.
BELCO submits Special Development Order Application for emergency/peaking gas turbines
For emergency/peaking Gas Turbines (GT6, GT7 & GT8), a Special Development Order (SDO) Application was made on 7 April 2008, with BELCO presenting to Cabinet on 19 August 2008.
No permission received for “Central Plant Development Plan”
In order to maintain security of supply, in February 2008, BELCO brought forward Phase II of the Central Plant Development – three 4.5MW Gas Turbines (GT 6, 7 and 8). The gas turbines served as Emergency/Peaking Plant and did not negate the need for an additional base load generation plant. An extensive capital improvement project to the Old Power Station air cooled radiator system was also required due to the critical condition of the aged infrastructure.
BELCO submits “Central Plant Development Plan” to the Planning Department
Following the lack of interest and commitment by Bermuda for large scale renewables, distributed generation sites and alternative fuels, as proposed in the ESDD, BELCO submitted an application on 6 November 2007 to the Department of Planning for Final Planning Permission for an 8-phase development of the Pembroke Power Station site through to 2030. BELCO received and responded to 129 objections to its application.
Electric System Discussion Document stakeholder consultation
In February – July 2006, BELCO presented the ESDD to stakeholders in the Government (Members of Parliament and Civil Servants), Opposition, environmental and national interest groups, and a variety of other interested parties.
Electric System Discussion Document (ESDD)
The Electric System Discussion Document (ESDD) was created between June and December 2005 as a consultation document for stakeholders regarding energy planning over the next 20-years. The ESDD included projected energy needs of the Country, energy supply and delivery infrastructure, distributed energy locations, renewable energy resources and alternative fuels suitable for Bermuda.
East Power Station Phase 4 (E7 & E8) commissioned
In May 2005, marking the completion of a 20-year energy planning cycle for the East Power Station, the East Power Station Phase 4 (E7 & E8) was commissioned. It is recognized today by the two concrete exhaust stacks that dominate the skyline.