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Government promotes solar panels to reduce demand on BEC

Blackouts resulting from electrical load shedding has Bahamians taking the solutions provided in the National Energy Policy seriously.  The residual effect of global climate change is teaching Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) employees a hands-on lesson about why Bahamians are being encouraged to buy solar photovoltaic panels.

Bahamas Solar Panels

“The majority or the largest consumer of petroleum products in The Bahamas is BEC … our electrical companies.  And so we want to reduce the demand on them.  About 40 percent of the energy they produce are primarily to households for residential use,” said Phenton Neymour, Minister of State for the Environment.

“If we could lower their demand, we could in fact reduce the amount of petroleum products we import into The Bahamas and at the same time assist in addressing climate change in the region.  Essentially, climate change in The Bahamas is a matter of life and death because 80 percent of The Bahamas is within 10 feet of sea level.  If sea level rises significantly, the majority of our land will be under it.  I tell people regularly, if you’re talking about 10 feet of sea level, that’s all of the South Beach constituency.”

According to Minister Neymour, 99 percent of The Bahamas’ energy source is drawn from petroleum — from diesel to heavy fuel oils.  Recently, the price of oil has been rising and is not expected to fall significantly.  The Ministry of the Environment is encouraging Bahamians to minimise their usage of petroleum products in The Bahamas.

“It is time that The Bahamas addresses energy consumption seriously.  We are an archipelago and BEC has 30 plants throughout The Bahamas, which is very costly to maintain.  So if we can reduce the amount of energy they have to produce, we also help ourselves,” said Mr. Neymour.

He said recent studies recognised the great potential for renewable energy in the areas of wind and solar and that The Bahamas is now moving forward into other forms of energy.  It was noted that between the rising cost of importing oil and the rising temperature of the Earth’s surface, The Bahamas is “between a rock and a hard place”, and Bahamians are encouraged to ease the electrical demand placed on BEC.

“What is most important is to get the greatest impact to the average Bahamian,” said Mr. Neymour. “The majority of our bill, about 30 percent of it, is estimated to be as a result of our water heater.  If we can eliminate that cost, or minimise that cost to individuals, we are significantly helping Bahamians, in terms of reducing their expenses and improving their lives in the future,” he said.

“We brought in 134 solar water heaters.  Some of them will be installed in Government subdivisions.  So we want to begin this process to demonstrate how much we can save.  There are over 60,000 residential homes in New Providence who can benefit from solar water heaters and it’s estimated they will pay for themselves within two to three years, so we want you also to promote solar water heaters and solar systems throughout The Bahamas.”

Mr. Neymour said that climate change is the result of greenhouse gases, essentially from using petroleum products.  He added that some of the major industrialised countries are in fact influencing climate change in a negative way.

“And so The Bahamas, as a result of its vulnerability, has recognised the importance of becoming ambassadors to the solution of climate change and to minimise the use of petroleum products,” said Mr. Neymour.

“Many of you have heard about climate change and what is essentially happening is that the world is getting warmer.  As a result of it, there will be sea level rise and it is planned to impact The Bahamas significantly with beach erosion as storms are getting stronger, and more frequent.  What has been determined is that The Bahamas is one of the most vulnerable countries, not only in this region but also one of the most vulnerable in the world,” he said.

 

Source: http://www.expatsinthebahamas.com



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