Island life: Saft to support Bermuda’s future electricity plans 


Saft is delivering a turnkey order to supply an Energy Storage System to Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO). The system will provide up to 10MW power for spinning reserves and frequency response to maintain grid stability.

Like many islands, Bermuda has relied on imported fuel to generate much of its electricity. However, the island is modernising its approach to generation, distribution and sales after the Government of Bermuda passed the Electricity Act in 2016.

This prompted BELCO to develop a long-term plan, which includes measures to improve energy efficiency, energy storage and renewable energy.

Spinning reserves are essential to provide backup power in case a generator experiences a sudden outage. They are named after the historic practice of keeping generators idling (with their internal components spinning) so that they are ready to ramp up to full power within a few minutes.

The Saft ESS will provide spinning reserves, allowing the operator to switch off generators and save fuel. In addition, the ESS will provide frequency response services, by injecting or absorbing energy to or from the grid within seconds to maintain consistent frequency and grid stability.

As the turnkey supplier of the ESS, Saft is carrying out the design, delivery and installation of the ESS and connecting it to BELCO’s grid.

Stephanie Simons C.Eng, mechanical engineer at BELCO Power Generation said, "We selected Saft because of its long track record of creating energy storage systems for remote and island communities.

“The ESS for BELCO will integrate energy efficient power conversion equipment as a package with a 20-year asset life.”

Hervé Amossé, Saft executive vice president, Telecom, Transportation and Grid added, “The BELCO project continues a long series of successful energy storage deployments by Saft to support island grids since 2003. 

“Saft is committed to provide BELCO with a reliable and high-performance spinning reserve solution as an alternative to its generators.”

Saft’s design meets the stringent set of requirements set by BELCO, including high reliability, low operating costs and guaranteed performance over the asset lifetime. 

It is capable of fast response to maintain grid stability and prevent load shedding in case a generator trips. The power conversion equipment can supply active power to support the grid frequency while simultaneously providing reactive power for voltage stabilisation.  

Saft is building the containerised Li-ion battery systems for the 5.5MWh storage capacity ESS in Jacksonville, Florida. 

In addition to the batteries, the ESS will integrate control and monitoring equipment, as well as power conversion components and switchgear supplied by ABB. A local contractor will carry out installation and commissioning in Bermuda in early 2019.