Later this month, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. Walter Roban will represent Bermuda at two conferences in the Caribbean.
The Minister will attend The Turks and Caicos Islands Climate Change Summit on April 21 – 22 and the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum from April 26 – 28. At these events, the Minister will highlight the many environmental, energy and conservation initiatives and programmes undertaken by the island to ensure a more sustainable Bermuda.
Leading up to these two significant conferences, the Ministry will remind our community home about the critical steps being taken to preserve our natural resources.
As highlighted in the Ministry’s recent budget presentation, the Department of Energy, working alongside the Regulatory Authority, will manage the work towards introducing the Energy Regulatory Sandbox. This work will allow the Ministry to table legislation to introduce an energy regulatory sandbox that will encourage new renewable energy technology developers to test their products in Bermuda.
Additionally, through the Department of Energy, the Ministry of Home Affairs is working to introduce a Green Energy Environmental Justice Fund to provide capital to deploy solar installations throughout the island.
Our goal is to see increased investment in Bermuda, particularly in the energy sector. We are working with the RA to identify potential sites for utility-scale solar islandwide that are consistent with the goals of the IRP.
And as a top priority, the elimination of single-use plastics remains a critical matter given the interrelated issues of plastics, climate change, ocean pollution and human health.
The Minister reminded that Cabinet approved a draft policy document in August 2021, which was the subject of public consultation during September and October 2021.
Further consultation is planned with retailers, grocers, and importers to determine how to implement realistic, financially viable solutions. Following this, we will analyse all the feedback provided in preparation for drafting the necessary legislation.
Also, Bermuda became the first Overseas Territory to join Blue Shield, introducing technological solutions to enhance marine protection and enforcement of our waters.
As the Minister prepares to head to the Climate Change Summit on April 21, he shared that creating the Marine Development Plan is also a top priority. Some key aspects of the plan include:
Ø A marine spatial plan Identifying the 20% preservation of the EEZ;
Ø Governance surrounding the development of the sustainable industries within the EEZ, including Blue Tourism, Fisheries and Renewable Energy; and
Ø Introducing the Governance structure of the Blue Investment Fund. Much of the Marine Development Plan’s development has been funded by the WAITT Institute/ Foundation.
The Minister also noted that with the assistance of Government House, the Ministry of Home Affairs had secured funding from the UK Government for a new and expanded study to understand the impacts of sea-level rise and changing storm activity. This is an urgent first step in the fight against climate change.
There will also be several activities this month, including Earth Day, which will take place on April 22, that he hopes the public will engage in to aid in their environmental awareness.