Wednesday, July 10, 2013

‘Island must explore the potential for wind farms’

The future? Environmentalists have urged Bermuda to look closer at the option of wind farms.
The potential of wind farms off Bermuda has come under the spotlight as environmental groups urge Government to explore more renewable sources of energy.
The call comes after the Seychelles islands got their first wind farm last month as part of a drive away from diesel generators.
The project is expected to save the archipelago of islands 1,000 miles of the east coast of Africa around 1.6 million litres of diesel per year.
And experts predict the move from diesel to wind will reduce emissions by 5,500 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Local conservation groups say that Bermuda is ‘lagging dismally behind in its energy goals’ but the jury is still out on whether wind power would be a suitable alternative energy source.
Greenrock President, Judith Landsberg, described Bermuda’s energy future as an ‘urgent problem’.
She added: “We have done quite a bit of thinking about what is the ‘right mix’ of energy for Bermuda.
“While wind farms have potential here they are probably not the biggest hitters in the short term. They would have to go offshore, somewhere like North Rock, with the result that construction is very expensive as is the cost of the lines to bring the energy to the island.
“This makes the economics marginal, but not impossible.
“We believe that the biggest potential opportunities are domestic solar, waste-to-energy and wave power.
“Tyne’s Bay currently produces less than 5 per cent of our energy but our municipal waste stream has the potential to produce up to 15 per cent of our energy with modern technology.
“While wave power is currently in the test phase but has good potential here and could generate up to 20MW of power.”
Stuart Hayward, Chairman of the Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce told the Sun that using wind power had pros and cons in a place like Bermuda.
He said: “Offshore construction of wind farms in Bermuda would reduce issues of noise, revolving shadows, threats to birdlife, and possibly aesthetics.
“But other issues would be exacerbated.
“Specialised equipment would be needed for construction and especially maintenance.
“There would be an inventory of specialised parts and specialised jobs would be created for construction and maintenance; for which labour will have to be imported
“The intermittent nature of wind power will require
backup sources for low-wind periods, which are usually fossil fuels.
“Bermuda’s penetrating salt air is particularly disruptive to marine electric fittings and you would have to consider interference with flight paths and radar/electronic communications around the airport.”
Mr Hayward added: “The move toward “renewables” and away from fossil-fuels is good, but each new technology seems to hold high promise, then practical realities set in.
“Wave technology that pumps fluid, keeping the electrics out of the sea water and related problems, seems the most promising tech-fix.
“The crux problem is our addiction to energy: each person tends to consume progressively more; and the number of consumers globally just keeps rising.”
The Environment Ministry declined to comment.