From our initial engine installation in 1907, we have brought online 16 engines and 8 gas turbines in order to meet Bermuda’s energy demand. As of 2022, we have reduced our employed engines and gas turbines by 50% while still maintaining a safe and reliable supply of electricity for Bermuda.
With the energy efficient engines housed in the North Power Station now providing Bermuda’s base load of energy, we have commenced work on our Asset Retirement Project (ARP) which will prepare our campus for the future requirements of diversifying our energy sources. This project includes the removal of our decommissioned generating assets along with the associated infrastructure, the abatement of hazardous materials, the removal of unsafe buildings, site remediation for historical damage, and the demolition of several exhaust stacks.
Operating from a converted sawmill on East Broadway in Hamilton, Bermuda Electric Light, Power & Traction Company Ltd. (BELP&T), now BELCO, installed its first generating unit—a 50-kilowatt (kW) suction gas engine—in 1907. Demand for electricity at the time was almost non-existent and during that first year of business, BELP&T’s electricity was used only by itself to light an advertising sign on the premises. In 1908, however, BELP&T began to supply electricity to island residents, when the Company erected Bermuda’s first electric pole on the corner of King and Church Streets in 1909.
The ARP planning process commenced in 2014 for the one-to-two-year project and was established for several reasons: including the increasing number of retired assets, the need for a thorough site clean-up, and the safety concerns regarding the associated buildings. But ultimately, it was driven by the future requirements of diversifying the Company’s energy generating sources.
In 1909, second and third generating units were purchased and installed and electricity was provided on a 24-hour basis. BELP&T advertised its ability to supply customers “all through the night, until further notice”. By 1920, a 300kW peak load was achieved, but gas engines were not providing the optimum way to generate electricity, so in 1921 a full transition from gas to oil engines was made.
As our journey towards a sustainable energy future for Bermuda progresses, we remain committed to transitioning to renewables and achieving Net Zero by 2050.
To see monthly updates on our ARP progress, visit belco.bm/asset-retirement.