he North Power Station was commissioned in April 2020 as a direct response to the challenge of ageing engines. Much of our infrastructure was outdated, including some engines that are 40 years old. In order to replace these engines, we needed to build a new power station.
The North Power Station has new, modern engines that are cleaner and much more efficient. We will now be able to decommission eight costly and unreliable diesel engines by the end of 2020. We will also be able to remove one tall concrete exhaust stack and five smaller stacks. All in all, this will result in reduced emissions coming from our power plant.
The immediate benefits are already apparent. With elevated cooling fans, turbochargers and exhaust ductwork, noise and vibrations have been substantially reduced. All BELCO emissions are now emitted through a significantly taller stack. At 65 metres, this tall stack achieves better dispersion of exhaust. The North Power Station was built to meet both local and international standards with respect to spill containments for fuels, lubricants and transformer insulating oils.
Health, Safety and
Our OHSE team constantly monitors the effects of our plant, both on the adjacent neighbourhood and across Bermuda. OHSE works closely with The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to ensure that BELCO emissions are within required limits.
BELCO meets the highest international standard for its environmental management system, maintaining the ISO 14001 certification. Additionally, BELCO complies with the Clean Air Act 1991 and the Regulations 1993. Each quarter, BELCO reports data from all quality monitoring programmes to the Environmental Authority.
Health and safety are top priorities at BELCO, which is why our OHSE team takes every measure to address damages quickly and safely. OHSE conducts reviews and works to prevent future incidents. We are confident that operations and emissions will be greatly improved for the operating life of the plant.
WE HEAR YOUR CONCERNS ON:
- Stack exhaust
- Water quality
- Stack soot
We are acutely aware of the impact that unforeseen incidents related to the commissioning of the North Power Station have had on some properties in the area surrounding the plant. This was unexpected and we are very sorry and sympathetic to those who have been affected. We are working diligently to make things right. Due to COVID-19, however, it was difficult to immediately bring in specialised contractors from overseas to diagnose and fix these issues. However, with loosening restrictions, we have more recently been able to bring in experts to run diagnostics on the new engines and resolve issues with soot emissions.
We have now received test results from several independent organisations to determine the impact the North Power Station has had on the surrounding neighbourhood. These results are in the categories of stack exhaust emissions, water quality and stack soot emissions.
We understand the impact on the neighborhood and we appreciate your patience with us as we work to lower our impact on your everyday life.
Stack exhaust emissions
This year, BELCO has continually demonstrated compliance to Clean Air Act and Regulations, recorded at the two existing ambient air quality measuring sites in Pembroke. Testing the emissions from the exhaust stacks revealed that nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter emissions are well below our contractual obligations.
An additional portable, trailer-mounted air quality monitoring station has been installed on Ocean Lane in Pembroke, where it will remain for six months. Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) will oversee the operation and maintenance of this portable monitoring station and the analysis will be presented to The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Environmental Authority.
DENR engaged the local environmental organisation, BIOS, to carry out comprehensive water testing at eight Pembroke locations and two control sites. We have received the independent results report on water quality and sediment samples.
Pollutants expected to be associated with soot from BELCO and other combustion processes are not present in the water samples above any of the various drinking water standards, including those from the USA, the UK and the World Health Organisation.
It should be noted, however, that the majority of tanks tested failed drinking water quality standards for reasons unrelated to the NPS. High levels of bacteria, such as E coli, are suspected to be a result of faecal input from birds and/or lizards on roofs. Some of the water samples also had a high pH, which is suspected to be a result of cement washing of the tanks.
Stack soot emissions
In June 2020, there was an incident that resulted in soot being dispersed in the Berkeley Hill neighbourhood. The NPS had been shut down for ten days in early June to identify the engine exhaust impact at Ocean Lane from the East Power Station alone. Unfortunately, when the last of the four North Power Station engines was restarted, there were a number of failed engine starts due to a minor control wire breakage and residue buildup from the initial commissioning was emitted.
We are working with the NPS engine manufacturers to mitigate similar occurrences in the future and we have implemented operational changes to the process of bringing engines online and offline. We have implemented changes to the engines to increase compression pressure – and therefore combustion pressure. We are improving combustion processes to more completely burn fuel at start-up/shut-down and prevent soot buildup.
Have Your Say
to you is clear
For over a century, BELCO has been a critical part of Bermuda’s infrastructure. Due to our operational performance, high reliability, environmental stewardship and level of customer experience, BELCO is rated as one of the best island utilities in the world.
Our dedicated team works around the clock, every day of the year, to ensure that Bermuda has a reliable energy source. Most of our employees are Bermudian. We live and work in the area around the plant. Our team strives for excellence and service to our community.
We’re committed to a clean and safe environment for all, not least our neighbours.