Government could provide more incentives to allow people to install alternative sources of power, according to a group promoting sustainability.

Greenrock is hoping to see signs in the Budget that Government is taking the issue of the Island’s reliance on fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, more seriously and is starting to implement recommendations from its white paper on energy.

Gordon Johnson, the group’s Executive Director, said: “We want to accelerate our reduction in energy consumption thinking of the legacy we will leave our children and our children’s children.

“While we are completely reliant on foreign sources of oil and gas we are held hostage by their economic cycles and by instability in the Middle East. Although we are used to relying on this foreign resource we can think and act differently.

“Our addiction to fossil fuel is outdated with advancement in conservation technology and renewable energy sources, and is also contributing to changes in our global climate.

“We are organising Bermuda’s participation in Earth Hour, on March 29, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. We invite people to the Washington Mall and the City Hall marking the occasion. Earth Hour is a vote to change.”

Everyone – churches, businesses, charities, schools and families - are being urged to support the event by making it part of their calendars and by turning off all unnecessary power for an hour, either on the day or in the run-up to the event.

“We are hoping that Earth Hour this year marks the beginning for some and continuation for others of a movement. Giving subsidies to alternative sources of power will not, overnight, help a person to beat your energy bill, but it is a start,” added Mr. Johnson.

“We are aware of what is happening in Bermuda at the moment and we fully understand that Government has sustainability priorities and this could be one of them,” said Mr. Johnson. “We can accelerate the process of getting more sustainable energy sources.

“A reduced reliance on importing oil and gas will help stabilize and hopefully in the longer-term reduce our energy bills. That is something that everyone at the moment has an interest in.”

Greenrock would like to see the Government turn its attention more seriously to energy efficiency with a new Energy Act with minimum efficiency standards and would like to see import duty on forms of alternative energy scrapped along with other energy reducing products like LED lights and grants of up to 100 percent of installation costs made available to those most likely to benefit – seniors, service and social enterprise organisations.

It would also like to see more alternative systems hooking up to the Bermuda energy grid in order to sell unused power back into the system and creating more community-based power with excess solar or wind electricity generated by homes, businesses, schools and churches bought back by BELCO to reduce our reliance on big diesel-fueled generators.

Mr. Johnson added: “Don’t we want a future where we are proud to turn on a light, where our reliance of oil and gas are limited? Or do we want the future where we are held hostage by foreign interests in oil and gas, where increasing worldwide demand makes it more and more expensive for us, where our people struggle even more to pay their energy bills?

“Why not use local resources and create local jobs and rely less on foreign resources continuing to send tens of millions of dollars off our Island for fuel? Create a future where we continue to grow our green economy. Bermuda: What kind of energy future do you want?”