After two-and-a-half years of almost constantly focused effort from a small, local team, the 2011 Energy White Paper has now been released.
The Department of Energy continues the Government’s work toward sustainability, as it was created as a direct response to the Sustainable Development Strategy and Implementation Plan.
The 2011 Energy White Paper provides a nine-year plan that outlines the key energy policies that will accomplish the goals of substantially reducing fossil fuel dependency, maintaining and improving energy security, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions below 10 metric tonnes CO2 per person by 2020.
Several supporting arguments are made in the White Paper for these goals, but among the most compelling is a solid economic argument for adopting measures of energy conservation and efficiency, and in finding new ways to generate power from renewable sources.
More than 100 million dollars are exported from Bermuda every year just to import the fuel we need to power the turbines that make our electricity.
Imagine if we could keep only 20 per cent of that in local pockets — that’s not a distant hope, but something we can all make a reality.
That’s 20 million more dollars that stay in our economy, and in these difficult times that should be something that we can all embrace.
The White Paper goes on to outline the ways we can meet the goals noted above.
The paper has information on how energy auditing for buildings of all types will help us understand how best to use the technology we already have to dramatically reduce our power use.
Building rating systems and changes to building codes will also ensure that measures of efficiency and conservation are built right into new projects from the very beginning.
Energy efficiency in consumer products will play a large role in meeting targets as well.
Minimum efficiency standards will be introduced to discourage the importation and sale of inefficient products to Bermuda, while consumer awareness will be increased through public education and mandatory product labeling with regard to energy performance.
Transportation is probably the most difficult area in which we will need to make changes, but there are things we can do already without the adoption of space-age technologies.
We can make sure we buy the most efficient vehicles for our purposes, avail ourselves more of public transportation whenever possible, and we can also look into car pooling. None of these are the answer in and of itself, and most importantly, all efforts make a difference.
As the generation of electricity becomes more diversified from its present single source, there will be several if not many independent power producers.
They will be required to obtain licences and comply with rigorous interconnection standards that will be developed in consultation with the local utility.
An independent regulatory authority will also be established in order to maintain proper oversight of all interconnected entities.
Already an expedited planning process is in place for small-scale renewable energy applications, and this will continue and improve as more renewable electricity generation enters the market.
Public land and seabed will be allocated for utility-scale renewable electricity genera-tion projects and the Government will be responsible for selecting which companies are permitted to use these sites to ensure the public interest is represented.
There will need to be many legislative changes that will have to be made in order to make the goals of the White Paper a reality.
Measures such as feed-in-rates for independent power producers will be required to provide the financial security necessary to encourage investment in more sustainable forms of power generation.
Finally, it is important to note that none of the measures required to meet the goals of the White Paper are beyond our reach or dependent on technology not yet available.
We can achieve the necessary reductions by means available to us right now.
The only thing we need is the will of Bermudians to get it done.