Energy conference opens at Baha Mar

The Hon. Desmond Bannister, Minister of Works, addresses the opening session of the 18th Annual Platts Caribbean Energy Conference. (Photo/Courtesy BPL)
By Kathryn Campbell
NASSAU, The Bahamas – Diversification of fuels, a comprehensive regulatory framework, the introduction of renewable energy sources, a new generating plant and green island project are among the strides the Bahamas Government has made in the energy sector.
The Hon. Desmond, Minister of Works, underscored that notwithstanding the country’s challenges it has and continues to make “incremental” advances in this area.
Minister Bannister addressed the opening of the 18th Annual Platts Caribbean Energy Conference today at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. The two-day event focuses on key issues facing the Caribbean energy sector.
Topics include: Market Structure and Stakeholder Alignment, Financing for Small Countries, Regional Demand, Fuel Conversion Viability, Renewable Energy, Managing Distributed Generation and Integrated Resource Plans. A panel discussion and case studies also comprise the conference agenda.  There is a diverse range of speakers on the agenda including Darnell Osborne, Chairman, Board of Directors, Bahamas Power and Light.
In his welcome, Minister Bannister noted the following as the  “fundamental” importance of the conference: the renewal of contacts industry-wide, the discussion and analysis of critical issues of mutual interest, and the sharing of innovative ideas with colleagues from diverse backgrounds from around the world.
Minister Bannister said The Bahamas is currently ensuring the security of its energy supply through the diversification of fuels even as it continues to modernize the energy infrastructure. In this regard, he said a proposal is in place to remove the price volatility with a generation mix that is 100% based on fossil fuel.
“With the introduction of tri-fuel generation (liquid natural gas, diesel and heavy fuel oil), The Bahamas will have the flexibility of selecting its fuel based on any number of reasons including price.
“We also continue to focus on the development of a comprehensive governance/regulatory framework to effectively support the advancement of the energy sector to be effectively able to facilitate energy conservation and efficiency through the introduction of renewable energy sources such as solar, ocean energy, biofuels, waste to energy and where possible, wind.”
He said it is anticipated that a new state-of -the-art generating plant will soon be constructed with the best in class efficiencies for single cycle power generation.
He told the audience that the new facility will improve the generation capacity, modernize the plant, and provide newer technologies together with higher levels of energy conservation and improved efficiencies when compared to existing assets.
Minister Bannister remarked that cost effective, progressive ideas for creating and installing renewable energy resources are “critical” to The Bahamas.
“Every year we face the threat of hurricanes that may impact the vibrancy of life in our many islands.  Finding a niche in the spectrum of opportunity will be of great value to our country.
“We have the perfect environment to foster small scale renewable generation in our many Family Islands, and we embrace this emerging technology to assist in the further development and modernization of our energy infrastructure as we seek to improve our conservation and efficiency capabilities.”
He told the delegates that the nation’s challenges provide great opportunity for those who are able to propose innovative, enterprising and dynamic ideas for solutions and he is certain officials will be pleased to engage in meaningful discussion with them.
As an archipelago, practical energy solutions must be provided to numerous islands, all diverse, and each in differing stages of development.
“There is no magic formula that that provides an answer to every need. We will, therefore, listen with interest to the various presenters, and consider many of the ideas that you propose as we seek to make decisions that will impact the lifestyles of our residents for decades to come.”
S&P Global Platts is the leading independent provider of information, benchmark prices and analytics for the energy and commodities markets.