Local Business

Belco project to take 18 months

  • Time to retire: one of the ageing generators in the Old Power Station at Belco’s complex (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Revised plans for a North Power Station at Belco have claimed that work could be completed next autumn — and pave the way to a potential move to natural gas as a fuel source.

Planning documents estimate that the construction project will involve around 100 construction workers and last 18 months.

Work is hoped to begin as soon as this month with generators ready to start in October 2019.

Belco sought approval for the installation of five new diesel engines capable of generating a combined 72 megawatts of energy in 2012.

But last month the application was changed to four dual-fuel diesel engines generating 56 megawatts.

Each of the four generators would be installed in a single new powerhouse, located on the Belco site between Cemetery Road and St John’s Road.

The generators would use a single 65-metre concrete chimney stack.

The new station would be capable of burning a combination of light fuel oil and heavy fuel oil.

The planning documents said: “The dual-fuel component will enable cost-effective conversion to natural gas, should such become available in Bermuda in the future.

“It’s noted that substantial detailed engineering has been completed on the proposed North Power Station since the previous submission in April 2012.”

The documents said the new power plant would allow the retirement of older engines and cut pollution.

The application added that the adoption of natural gas as a fuel would lead to further environmental benefits.

The Regulatory Authority decided to allow the installation of new generators last month, along with a system for battery engine storage.

Aaron Smith, interim chief executive of the RA, said: “Much of Belco’s current generation capacity has gone beyond its normal life expectancy and this had become a critical issue in terms of safety as well as the security of supply for Bermuda, which were major factors in our decision to approve this replacement generation.”