Fresh on the heels of COP26, Bermuda is leading in the energy transition by inaugurating the third vertical of renewable energy: blue ocean power. On November 22 in Hamilton, Bermuda, Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs Hon. Walter Roban JP, MP, announced an agreement to move forward on the development of what promises to be the world’s first utility-scale commercial ocean wave power park. With a 40MW capacity, the park will fuel the island’s grid, providing roughly 10% of Bermuda’s energy needs.
“We appreciate the support of Seabased and the vision of Wendall Brown and the team to see Bermuda as an opportunity for this wonderful technology,” Roban said at the press conference. “We are the first jurisdiction in this region–North America, South America, and the Caribbean—to have the opportunity to deploy this technology. This is significant in that out of the COP26 events and the obvious commitment globally to begin to move away from fossil fuels, we have the opportunity to show that we are serious about this transition…. We are making a sincere effort, as a small island jurisdiction, to adapt.”
The Minister said the government of Bermuda is committed to attracting innovative solutions to the island and dedicated to an environmentally friendly sustainable future for its citizens and the planet. On an island beleaguered by the high cost of imported fossil fuels, Seabased wave power parks offer a renewable solution that reduces the cost of electricity and provides energy security. As part of the project, Seabased has been working with stakeholders in Bermuda and is finalizing an Environmental Impact Report.
“The Department of Environment and Natural Resources or DENR led this initiative,” Roban said. “It held multiple consultations with stakeholders, including the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Public Works, the Marine Resources Board, and the Commercial Fisheries Council.” DENR, he said, worked to ensure that the location would not only provide the needed amount of renewable wave energy, but also produce minimal disruption to shipping lanes, while meeting several key sustainability and environmental goals.
Among these: striking a balanced approach with the fishing industry; having no impact on whales in the area; not harming any protected species, including coral and seagrass; and avoiding any impact on the marine heritage.
Previous studies have shown that a possible increase of biodiversity and desirable fish species can be achieved over time as a result of the park’s presence in the leased area, a few kilometers offshore from Bermuda’s airport on St. George’s Island.
“We have come to know, respect, and appreciate the Bermudan government and the representatives we work with in Bermuda,” said Seabased CEO Laurent Albert. “They have demonstrated their bold commitment, both to fighting climate change and to providing energy security from an abundant local renewable resource—the ocean. We are delighted to be working with Bermuda and with Mr. Brown, who has agreed to be our distributor in the Caribbean.”
An innovative solution for an innovative island
Seabased is a blue power company which harnesses ocean waves for abundant renewable consistent power at utility scale. A global market leader, its proprietary technology is protected by over 300 patents and was invented by professors Mats Leijon and Hans Bernhoff, internationally recognized electrical engineers who developed the technology initially at Uppsala University in Sweden.
“I am confident that this pilot will prove to be a success,” Roban said. “Seabased has extensively tested and refined its technology, including two successful full-scale demonstration wave power parks.”
Albert believes Seabased wave power parks can contribute greatly to enabling the green energy transition. “This will be the next, bold step in Bermuda’s renewable energy transition as well as Seabased’s industrial rollout. At the same time, it will address the urgent needs for a sustainable and clean energy future.”