Ministerial Statement by the Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs the Hon. Walter H. Roban JP MP
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform this Honourable House of the upcoming Bermuda Energy Summit 2017, to be held on November 16th. This is an event that the Department of Energy undertakes as a means of outreach and education for a wide range of invited participants in the energy sector. The Energy Summit began in 2014 at the commencement of consultation on the National Electricity Policy, and was met with such a positive response, that the Department hosted another in the summer of 2016. Again, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and so the Department endeavors to make this an annual event, and this year we hold it as part of CARICOM’s Energy Month. Invitees include local and overseas industry participants, business leaders, Government stakeholders, representatives of various environmental advocacy groups, and community leaders.
Mr. Speaker, our keynote speaker at this event is the Programme Manager for Energy at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Devon Gardner, who has a wealth of experience in resource assessment, physical modeling, engineering design and policy development in the Caribbean. After the tone is set by Dr. Gardner’s inspiring words, we will be discussing the current state of energy in Bermuda, with a focus on the upcoming Integrated Resource Planning process, or IRP.
Mr. Speaker, this Honourable House should know the IRP is one of the next most pressing tasks, according to the law, that the Regulatory Authority will undertake in the energy sector. Part 8 of the Electricity Act 2016 requires the initiation of the IRP process by the Regulatory Authority (RA) within two years of commencement date, which means that, strictly speaking, the RA has until October 2018 to initiate the IRP. Cognizant of this deadline, the Department established the IRP process as the focal point of the Summit in an effort to prepare the public for the commencement of this new and inclusive process. Underscoring the need to ensure that all participants are prepared for the upcoming IRP, the Department has arranged for a pre-Summit workshop on November 15th, facilitated free of charge to this Government, by staff from the Clinton Institute’s Islands Energy Program. Attendees will include members of the Regulatory Authority, various key stakeholders, and the Department of Energy.
Mr. Speaker, the Summit itself, on November 16, will feature five panel discussions with presenters examining:
- the IRP process as it is conducted in other jurisdictions,
- efficiency and conservation in the hospitality industry,
- regulatory environments that are supportive of renewable energy integration, and
- how all of these elements might be included in a successful, inclusive, and transparent IRP for Bermuda.
A sixth element on the day will be an Electric Vehicle showcase.
Mr. Speaker, the first panel discussion on the IRP process will include guests from the Clinton Institute, World Watch International, Greenrock, and the University of Illinois. This panel will explore best practices and consider what a successful IRP process looks like in other jurisdictions. The anticipated outcome of this panel is to help inform attendees as to the factors that could be considered in the evaluation of, and response to, the draft IRP once it has been triggered by the Regulatory Authority.
Mr. Speaker, the next panel on Efficiency and Conservation will feature Ms. Loreto Duffy-Mayers, who heads up the Caribbean Hotel Efficiency Action as its Regional Director. Ms. Duffy-Mayers works with small- to medium-sized guest properties, and helps them achieve savings in their energy use through simple measures in order to improve their competitiveness in the world market. Rounding out that panel will be representatives from local hotels and guest properties who will give some insight as to how energy efficiency and conservation has improved their bottom line.
Mr. Speaker, The afternoon will continue with the third panel, which we anticipate will be a lively discussion on regulatory matters, and how robust, inclusive and transparent regulation of the energy sector serves to improve investor confidence and results in encouraging the uptake of renewable energy. Representing diverse organizations such as the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society, the University of Illinois, the National Regulatory Research Institute, and The Brattle Group, the panelists will discuss good regulatory practice in other jurisdictions, and lessons we can learn from them.
Mr. Speaker, continuing with this full agenda, there will be a fourth panel on innovations that can work for Bermuda, which focuses on electric vehicles and storage technologies. Summit attendees will learn how these technologies are becoming viable and affordable with options that were unavailable only a few short years ago. Among the guests will be a representative from Customized Energy Solutions, a company that provides energy storage solutions to clients around the world, as well as local industry participants. In addition to this panel, running concurrently and open to the general public, the Department of Energy has organised an Electric Vehicle Showcase, where Bermuda residents can see what is available now in electric vehicles.
Mr. Speaker, the final discussion of the day will recap the Summit’s panels, and presenters will consider how the ideas fit together as we move forward, as a country, with the first national IRP on our horizon.
Mr. Speaker, the Third Energy Summit promises to be an enlightening event that will motivate attendees to become more involved with energy matters, as processes of future planning become more inclusive and transparent than ever before.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.