NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Chairman Dr Donovan Moxey yesterday declared there “will be an end to load shedding” as the company celebrated the launch of its new station at the Clifton Pier Power Plant.
The power company announced last week Station A at the Clifton Pier Power Station was online and providing power to the grid.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis led a delegation on a walkabout of the new station including Cabinet ministers, BPL CEO Whitney Heastie, Moxey, members of the media and others.
During a ceremony for the station’s launch, Moxey said:j “Come this summer when peak demand is at 250 megawatts, we will have over 300 megawatts of available power.
“There will be an end to load shedding.
“This vicinity along with other facets of our turnaround strategy will make load-shedding a thing of the pass for New Providence and that is something we can all celebrate.”
Moxey described the milestone as a “a game changer for BPL and a game changer for the Bahamian people”.
He explained the seven new Wärtsilä state-of-the-art engines will generate 130 megawatts of power and provide consistent reliable power to the grid while minimizing the country’s overall carbon footprint.
“Thanks to their versatility and ability to burn less extensive fuels, cost for our customers will go down as fuel savings expand.
“Most importantly these engines dramatically increase our generation capacity. We’d be able to take other units offline for repair without impacting our overall generation, as well as retire units that are less efficient and beyond their use for life. More than anything else, it means we have much needed capacity in our system.”
In March, the government announced that it had signed a $95 million contract with Wärtsilä to install a new 132-megawatt engine power plant at the Clifton Pier Power Station.
Public Works Minister Desmond Bannister said last month that $70 million of the proceeds from the government’s electricity rate reduction bond will fund the expansion of the Wärtsilä plant.
Bannister 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.
Last month, the government passed the Electricity Rate Reduction Bond Bill (ERRB), 2019, which will allow BPL to restructure more than $320 million in inherited debt, and secure more than $350 million in new funding to address longstanding issues.
The legislation makes clear that BPL’s customer base will be relied upon to service the bond issue.
According to a notice published in The Nassau Guardian on Wednesday, by BPL’s initial estimates “the average family will see their bill increasing by roughly $27 a month, and within the next year, most, if not all, of that cost will be offset by savings resulting from our new cheaper energy generation”.
Minnis yesterday thanked the workers, employees and contractors for their many, hours working to build the new power plant.
“This power plant is only one step, albeit an important one, in the journey BPL must make to restore the confidence of Bahamians,” he said.
“Energy sector reform will also include solarization in our Family Islands, which, over time, will also bring down electricity costs for consumers in New Providence who help to subsidize costs for Family Island residents.
“Our vision of energy reform and lowering the cost of electricity will mean a better, more productive and more vibrant economy for all Bahamians.
“We are moving in the right direction as a country. We must and we will continue the progress.”