Integrated Resource Planning for Bermuda

Last month the Government of Bermuda’s Ministry Transport and Regulatory Affairs invited me to participate in a workshop as the small-island country explores how to harness all the resources at its disposal to implement a long-term energy plan. Like many island countries, Bermuda is heavily reliant on fossil fuel imports, and grows increasingly exposed to the growing threat of global climate change. Given my history with long-term sustainable energy roadmaps, the Director of Energy ask me to lend my expertise to the discussion, and I had the great honor of doing so today.

A simplified graphic showing an IRP process.

Developing an integrated resource plan (IRP) is not entirely different from developing a long-term energy plan. Many of the same categories apply: policy, regulatory, resources, technical analysis, finance, and resilience. The sub-categories vary a little, but the overall idea remains: understand the current situation, survey fully the range of resources you have, understand the outcome you want, and make adjustments to use known resources in order to bridge that gap.

I make it sound easy, but it is actually a very difficult process due to many competing interests, some of which may stand to lose from a change in the status quo. That’s the dilemma most progressive energy plans face. Still, the process must happen and champions must be devoted to the long-haul nature of it all. Listening to my fellow presenters, I have no doubt Bermuda will find its way through this first step. There are challenges related to timing, legal considerations, and the use of current energy-generating assets. Further, an energy plan must include aspects outside electricity such as transportation, which is governed by separate variables and can be concerned with different outcomes altogether. Regardless, I left the workshop with the feeling that the country’s experts are dedicated to the process and will determine a successful way ahead.

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© 2020 by Mark Konold