Abaco restoration presents solar opportunity

Abaco restoration presents solar opportunity

Chamber executive: “No quick fixes” in hurricane restoration

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Abaco’s restoration presents the perfect opportunity to introduce solar solutions on the hurricane-ravaged island, a Bahamas Chamber of Commerce executive said.

Debbie Deal, head of the Chamber’s energy and environment division, suggesting it was “absolutely crazy” to replace 3,000 wooden utility poles destroyed by Hurricane Dorian.

“We have been talking so long about solar, the advantages of it, about building a green, smart community and now we have a community where we can implement those things,” Deal told Eyewitness News.

“We cannot leave it for two years like Ragged Island. We have no choice but to get that economy back up and running and get those people back. It’s going to take a lot of work, but we can’t do what we have done all along.”

Deal said there can be “no quick fixes”.

“We have to do this thing right,” she said. “We have been talking about what we need to do in this country forever. No one ever seems to actually take it past just a conversation. This is an opportunity since we have to start from ground zero.”

Deal agreed with Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister, who said that it would likely cost billions to replace infrastructure destroyed by Hurricane Dorian.

“The minister mentioned that it is going to cost billions for infrastructure; yes absolutely, but to even suggest that you are going to put back 3,000 wooden polls when we know what our perfect storms are now going to be is absolutely crazy and the biggest waste of money.”

Deal added that Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) transmission and distribution rebuild should involve placing electricity cables underground as opposed to overhead.

In a recent interview with Tribune Business, Bannister revealed that BPL faces the prospect of having to replace 3,000 electricity poles going northwards from Marsh Harbour towards Cooper’s Town, but said the government was assessing whether the utility’s transmission and distribution rebuild should “take another format”.