by the Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy
Bermuda’s past use of energy is interesting and unique. Prior to the introduction of electricity and theinternal combustion engine to Bermuda, inhabitants relied upon natural elements to work and survive.Wood was used for heating and lighting, and was later supplemented with whale oil. Water was hand-pumped or bucketed from rain-water tanks, and imported products were transported via wind on sail. Thesun fed crops and evaporated water, providing sea-salt for food preservation. Out of simple necessity,early settlers used scarce natural resources in a much more responsible and sustainable manner than wedo today.The discovery of crude oil and its initial use in the form of fuel oil and kerosene was quickly adopted inBermuda. The first electrical generator, a 50 kilowatt gas unit, was installed in the City of Hamilton in1907. This generator lacked the power needed to meet increasing demand, so additional generators weresoon imported via steamship. Over the next 100 years, as Bermuda’s population rapidly increased, so didthe energy demands of its people. Following electrical generators, came domestic appliances,incandescent lighting systems, and later motor cars, motorcycles, industrial vehicles and marine vessels.Fossil fuels derived from oil were a natural choice to power this growth as they were cheap, easy totransport and could power a wide variety of machines. These fuels have in fact been so convenient thatthey now provide the majority of our energy supplies and we have become almost entirely dependent onthem to power our economy. Unfortunately, as our use of fossil fuels has grown we have becomeincreasingly aware of a range of issues related to their use and now realise our choice was short-sightedand is neither environmentally nor economically sustainable.To address these challenges the Government created the Department of Energy in 2008, with a mandateto reduce fossil fuel dependency, maintain energy security and encourage greenhouse gas emissionsreductions. The Department quickly took on these challenges through the publication of a consultationdocument on a national energy policy for Bermuda; the Energy Green Paper 2009. Feedback from thisgreen paper was subsequently used to develop this white paper thus creating Bermuda’s first nationalenergy policy.This white paper now provides a plan, which if followed, shall guide our small-island community to useenergy in an increasingly sustainable manner. It promises a future not bound by fossil fuels, but one thatis bright, exciting, and I hope will provide an excellent example to other small-island jurisdictions. Achieving the goals outlined in this white paper will however be extremely demanding, requiring nothingshort of a national energy transition. We must quickly abandon the urge of jumping to identify problemswe will face in meeting our goals and instead we must view each problem as a challenge, becomeinnovative and search for solutions.The Government will do its part by continuing to work with the private sector and non-governmentalorganisations as the policies outlined in this paper are implemented. Individuals and communities mustalso mobilise themselves to become more energy efficient and to harvest indigenous renewable energyresources. Working together with a shared vision will ensure progress is made for the benefit of Bermuda,her people and the natural environment on which we all depend. I encourage the entire community totake any steps necessary to decrease our fossil fuel consumption and thereby join this transition.
The Honourable Walter H. Roban, JP., MP.