Minister Kendred Dorsett Announces Renewable Energy Project for Anatol Rodgers High School

I am pleased to announce that the Government’s project to retrofit public buildings with photovoltaic systems will commence in the first quarter of 2017. The Anatol Rodgers High School will be outfitted with a 300 kW photovoltaic system with storage that will take it completely off the electrical grid. This project is being made possible with a monetary grant of approximately $667,000.00 USD from the government of Italy as part of its commitment to assist with renewable energy deployment in CARICOM member states.

The Anatol Rodgers project will serve as a blueprint for how other public buildings, especially the more than 150 public schools throughout The Bahamas, can be systematically removed from the electrical grid. It is also intended that the National Stadium and Swimming Complex, the Botanical Gardens, the Lynden Pindling International Airport and the Office of the Prime Minister will shortly follow with photovoltaic retrofit as funding becomes available.

In addition, the Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Company will work to install utility scale renewable sources within the various Family Islands which represents an excellent opportunity for fuel savings and environmental responsibility. The Ministry of Environment & Housing and the Carbon War Room through joint effort have also recommended family island renewable energy projects for Inagua, Eleuthera, Bimini, San Salvador, Andros, Long Island, Exuma, Cat Island, Mayaguana, Crooked Island, Acklins, Moores Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, Farmers Cay, Black Point/Staniel Cay, Grand Cay, Abaco, Great Harbour Cay, and Long Cay, that will enable some islands to rely completely on energy powered by solar with storage.

This is all a part of the Government’s commitment to energy sector reform with a focus on alternative energy use.

In addition to the launch of this retrofitting project and the efforts of BPL the Government has approved the Residential Energy Self Generation programme which would allow private homes and certain commercial enterprises to install solar energy generating systems and receive a credit for excess energy sent to the grid. This is presently before the Utility Regulations and Competition Authority (URCA) for approval. This programme will provide economic opportunities for Bahamians as it is intended that the installation of solar energy generating systems under the RESG programme will be reserved for Bahamians.

The advancement and completion of these projects will account for an estimated 20% of the Government’s goal of a minimum of 30% renewable energy penetration by the year 2033.

This administration has amended the Electricity Act, providing the legal framework for renewable energy sources, grid tie connections, independent power producers and independent regulation of the energy sector. This administration has also eliminated the tariffs on solar energy generating systems and inverters and has signed on to the Paris Agreement and joined international organizations such as the International Renewable Energy Agency recognizing our country’s incredible vulnerability to climate change and to begin to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

The process to reform the energy sector is not an easy one. It is also costly but it is necessary for Small Island Developing States, like The Bahamas. As we move forward with the renewable energy project at Anatol Rodgers and other public buildings we will keep the country apprised of its progress.

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