Solar power to Ragged Island by December 2019
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — In addition to traditional avenues of power generation, Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) will embark on an aggressive campaign toward introducing renewable energy throughout The Bahamas, according to BPL Chairman Donovan Moxey.
BPL has been challenged with a 40-megawatt generation shortfall, forcing the power company to persistently load shed in New Providence for months.
Load shedding was exacerbated in recent weeks, the result of several failed generators or transformers.
As the public laments the power outages, BPL officials have been unable to put a timeline on when consumers can expect reprieve, noting that due to aged equipment, unexpected failure and the generation shortfall load shedding could persist until fall when demand drop-off.
As BPL’s executive team seeks to get ahandle on thecurrent power woes, Moxey told the mediarevealed that BPL will begin in earnest tointroduce renewable energy sources.
That effort has begun with the issuance of request for proposals (RFP’S) for New Providence and the Family Islands.
“The first of these RFP’s have already been issued,inviting qualified organizations to submit proposals as independent power producers to develop, finance, build,own and operate solar photovoltaic and energy storage plants or hybrid power plants on Bimini, Andros, Eleuthera and Inagua,”Moxey said.
“BPL intends to leverage what we learn from these initial projects to ensure that our implementation of renewable energy is done in the most efficient and cost-effective manner with the ultimate goal of providing maximum benefit to our customers.”
Additionally, Moxey notedthat BPL’s renewable energy plan will commence with works in Ragged Island as the power company will work to fulfill the government’s planto make Ragged Island into a“green city”.
“BPL is doing its part in making this happen,”Moxey said.
“Our team visited Ragged island this past Friday to view sites for the new solar plant installation on the island.
“We are excited about this first solar and battery storage solution implemented by BPL,which is paving the way for the company in the renewables arena.”
He continued, “Particularly with regards to solar generation,BPL intends to do everythingwe can do to deliver solar power to Ragged Island by December 2019.”
It has been nearly two years since Hurricane Irma barreled its way through the islands of The Bahamas.
Ragged Island was among the hardest hit by the storm in September 2017.
In the aftermath of the devastating storm, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis declared the island uninhabitable, a status that has lingered in the absence of essential services.
He assured residents, however, that the government would rebuild.
In a national address in May, the prime minister announced plans to construct a new $2 million school and teachers’ duplex; a $2.5 million clinic; a $2.5 million administrator’s office, Post Office and court room, as well as a new $1 million police station and accommodations.
By June, the government announced the new government buildings would cost approximately $12 million.
In an interview with Eyewitness News Online in May, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest asserted, “We are committed to Ragged Island being a test or demonstration site for what can happen in The Bahamas and we ourselves investing in green technology in respect to our buildings and street lighting, and these kind of infrastructure to bring our cost down and to improve the sustainability of our infrastructure.”