Job creation that helps our planet – and our people
Our planet and society seems to be at yet another tipping point. Earlier this year, fires
burned on the West Coast of the United States and scorched more than four million acres of land. To compare this catastrophe, it was equivalent to 303 Bermudas going up in flames!
Meanwhile, we have experienced one of the most active hurricane seasons in our history of monitoring storms; all while battling a global pandemic where we have seen millions of jobs lost worldwide and far too many in Bermuda. These extreme weather events combined with Covid-19 are certainly part of the ever-changing world that we are living in.
Climate change continues to be obviously and evidently more real and is the biggest issue for humanity to tackle. As a father of two, it is clear that we can and must do more to provide hope to our children and society. While climate change presents a massive threat to humanity, it continues to highlight the immense potential for creating jobs and investment opportunities to reduce catastrophes and enhance our resilience here in Bermuda.
We are a proud island nation with an incredible history of innovation, entrepreneurship and “punching above our weight”. From the invention of the fastest sailboats on Planet
Earth, to the Gunpowder Plot that helped the United States of America overthrow monarchy, we are a resilient and capable people. So we must ask ourselves, what can
Bermuda do and what’s in it for us?
Jobs, investment opportunities and careers in clean renewable energy are some of the lowest-hanging fruits that can help more people in Bermuda while helping to save money and negate the effects of climate change.
During these challenging times, it is important to note that we have the knowledge, we know the problems and, most importantly, we have the people and resources to deploy proven solutions as soon as possible.
This may be the first time where the obvious economic, social and environmental benefits come together so perfectly. Dollars and cents drive us as a country for better and worse, and we now have an opportunity to create more jobs so that we can keep more money in our local economy.
Historically, Bermuda spends — and then burns — $80 million a year on fossil fuel that is imported from overseas. The heavy fuel oil we burn and smell on St John’s Road is an ancient, poisonous and cancerous substance that has created many problems for our island home and for humanity as a whole. Now is the time for us to work harder to remove this archaic fuel from our economy. If not to stop polluting our roofs and drinking water, then to help keep money on the island for more important purchases such as healthy food, healthcare and housing.
What if every year we could generate $80 million of collective savings for Bermuda and direct those savings to creating jobs? With our high standard of living in mind, if a good livable salary for an individual in Bermuda is $80,000 per year, that means a savings of $80 million a year as a country could effectively create 1,000 jobs.
The good news is that the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda has provided a 20-year energy plan known as the Integrated Resource Plan that is generally in line with where we need to go. This plan is heavily focused on local solar and offshore wind projects that will help to displace fossil fuel and pollution. The Government of Bermuda is also in support of this transition and has made progress to reduce barriers and bureaucracy for renewable energy, with hopefully much more to come.
Furthermore, Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp has stated its desire to see Bermuda transition to a renewable energy future and will plan to use its international experience to achieve this.
The facts are clear: once renewable energy is installed, it costs far less to produce electricity compared with traditional fossil fuel, which in turn would produce savings and opportunities to create more jobs in renewable energy and savings and jobs in other industries.
Jobs can be created if the people of Bermuda continue to push for and invest in a clean, renewable-energy future, so here’s to more positive action. Every day we vote with our dollars, what we choose to spend money on and what we invest in. Indeed, the path is clear, what we need to do is move towards a renewable energy future faster and with great intention to be the change we so desperately need to help Bermuda and humanity.
When your children ask “What did you do to help Bermuda create jobs that could negate the effects of climate change in the perilous decade of the 2020s?”, how will you answer?
The time to act is now.
• Stuart Kriendler is the managing director of BE Solar and has more than 11 years’ experience working in the renewable energy industry in Bermuda and California