Chamber raises concern over BPL engine cooling issue

Chamber raises concern over BPL engine cooling issue
The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce logo.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) has called on Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) to remediate the challenges it is experiencing with the cooling of the new engines at Clifton Pier “as a matter of urgency”.

The private sector representative issued a press statement expressing concerns about the challenges at Station A on Tuesday.

“The stability and delivery of power generation are critical components to strengthening our economy,” read the statement.

“A reliable and long-term solution must to be found and shared with the wider community. We consistently refer to the impact our power challenges have on the private sector and investment environment.

“As a result, the private sector needs to be confident that BPL is committed to fulfilling their obligations regarding safe, consistent, reliable and cost-effective power supply.”

The statement continued: “The private sector has experienced the loss of productivity and profitability last year through the extensive power outages and load-shedding. Given the fact that this year both the private sector and residents are expected to pay more through the rate reduction bond, there is a justifiable expectation that power generation will be consistent.”

Earlier this week, The Tribune reported on BPL’s plans to cool the 132 mega watts of newly-installed generation capacity by digging four 800-foot deep wells at Clifton Pier was in danger of running aground.

The area’s rock structures have reportedly proven far more difficult to penetrate than first thought.

Works Minister Desmond Bannister, who has ministerial responsibility for BPL, expressed confidence that the cooling system will be in place by summer 2020.

Still, the BCCEC has now publicly expressed its concern over the issue.

“Ensuring proper technical resources and access to guidance is imperative to BPL delivering on the commitments it has made to the Bahamian public and as it undertakes transformative change,” the statement read.

“Additionally, the BCCEC is concerned that as the solution to bringing the cooling water into the plant to cool the engines is found, that BPL also has an environmental plan for the disposal of the wastewater taking into account the necessary protocols needed to prevent any damage to the marine life in the area.

“We appreciate the minister’s acknowledgment of the challenges and his commitment to finding a solution, however, the BCCEC is calling on BPL to provide and announce a solution as a matter of urgency. The BCCEC will do what it can to work with and use any resources we may have that can contribute to a solution.”