UCSB Studies Offshore Wind Potential in Bermuda

Officials from the Government of Bermuda, Dr. the Hon. E. Grant Gibbons J.P., M.P., Minister of Education and Economic Development and the Hon. Jeanne Atherden, JP, MP, Minister for Health, Seniors and the Environment, recently received the final report from the University of California (Santa Barbara) (UCSB) entitled “Offshore Wind Energy in the Context of Multiple Ocean Uses on the Bermuda Platform”.

UCSB Studies Offshore Wind Potential in Bermuda

The Offshore Wind Energy Study was undertaken by graduate students of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, supported by the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UCSB along with the advice and support from technical officers in the Departments of Energy, Environmental Protection and Conservation Services, as well as the Marine Spatial Planning coordinator Kevin Mayall from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

The yearlong research project objective was to assist the Government of Bermuda in evaluating the theoretical viability of offshore wind energy. The project also identified and characterized potential conflicts with other ocean uses and ecological sensitivities, and proposed a spatial analysis model to help identify potential locations for offshore wind development.

The Project was undertaken as a minimum cost collaborative effort between the Bren School and Government in order to provide the UCSB students the opportunity to research and analyze a unique case study that is Bermuda, whilst providing the Government useful theoretical insight into the viability of adopting offshore wind energy technologies for the Island. Although the study concludes that offshore wind is viable, the Government notes that its findings are theoretical and that any potential wind developer considering proposing a wind farm for Bermuda would need to carry out their own research into the practical and financial viability of proposing such a development.

Alisan Amrhein, Project Manager, discussing the outcomes of the project, said: “We developed a spatial analysis model to assist in identifying suitable wind farm locations, and designed it to be a useful visualization and negotiation tool. We provided recommendations regarding the need for a transparent and open planning process. All Bermudians have a stake in developing a clean energy future for the island, so we felt it was critical to allow their voices to be included in the planning process.”

The project was also supported by the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UCSB, which provided technical input for the study and funding for two summer internships associated with the project. The interns, group members Alisan Amrhein and Darrell Gregg, traveled to Bermuda last summer to collaborate directly with Government officials on the study.

Press release, August 19, 2014; Image: UCSB
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