Bahamians may be able to get a stake in new BPL plant this year

Bahamians may be able to get a stake in new BPL plant this year
BPL Headquarters

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister yesterday suggested Bahamians may be able get a stake in Bahamas Power and Light‘s new power plant sometime this year.

Bannister was asked to respond to comments made by BPL’s Chairman Dr Donovan Moxey last month.

Moxey told Eyewitness News Online BPL would cover the costs to construct the entire 220-plus megawatt power plant at the Clifton Pier site and transfer the assets to Shell North America for its gas-to-power facility.

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister

I don’t know that we are going to have a Shell’s Power Plant,” Bannister said yesterday.

“In the FNM’s manifesto we spoke about creating an entity that Bahamians could invest in.

“Now that we  are able to have this bond in place, BPL is aggressively looking to create opportunities that Bahamians are going to be able to benefit from and invest in.

“So you may see sometime this year, there may be a wonderful opportunity for all of you, for other Bahamians to have a stake in a power plant in this country, as Shell and other entities may also have an opportunity.”

“These are things that BPL is going to be able to announce in due time.

He continued: “We anticipate that as we indicated to the Bahamian people, we’ve completed that plant that is going to be managed by Wärtsilä and we are now beginning to have reliable power in the country.

“So as we go into this plant that is going to be built now, we anticipate that it is going to be a wonderful opportunities for everybody to invest in reliable. That’s something that’s very very good that’s coming on line.”

Last month, Moxey told Eyewitness News Online, “BPL has taken the lead in the construction of the power plants and these will be transferred to the Shell gas-to-power facility as per the definitive agreements that are in final stages of negotiations.

“…As initially intended, the MOU will be replaced with definitive agreements inclusive of the (purchase power agreement) PPA.”

The government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Shell North America for the development of a gas-to-power project in November 2018.

The project would include the development of a gas-fire 220-plus megawatt power plant, marine infrastructure to receive liquefied natural gas; a gas pipeline to bring gas to shore; and an onshore LNG regassification terminal.

The MOU outlined that Shell, which will become an independent power producer (IPP), would cover construction costs of the plant and sell electricity to BPL. 

Both Bannister and Shell have previously confirmed that an initial public offering (IPO) for shares in the company’s liquified natural gas (LNG) facility, could be on the horizon.

However, BPL announced in March that it signed a $95 million contract with Finnish technology group Wärtsilä to install a new 132-megawatt engine power plant at the Clifton Pier site.

That project will also receive $70 million of the proceeds from the government’s electricity rate reduction bond to fund its expansion, according to Bannister.

In November, he said the second phase of the plant, which will bring an additional 90 megawatts of capacity online for a total of 222 megawatts, is expected to be on stream by 2021.

The first phase of the Wärtsilä plant came on line in early December and is now reportedly supplying power to the grid.