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Price of renewable energy ‘competitive’

Renewable energy produced for the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) will be sold at “competitive” prices and Bahamians can expect new employment opportunities as construction moves forward, according to Jeremy Feakins, the CEO of the Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation  (OTEC).
In a landmark deal, BEC will become the first utility company in the world to deliver ocean-powered electricity to the general public.
Through a power/purchase agreement, OTEC will incur 100 percent of the designing, maintenance and construction costs.
The two commercial-grade plants, costing upwards of $100 million, will be built to over the next few years.
Feakins said the venture is intended to help the Bahamian economy.
“I can almost guarantee BEC wouldn’t buy energy from us unless it was competitive,” he told Guardian Business.
“That was made clear from Minister Deveaux [Minister of the Environment].  We feel very confident to do that, or we wouldn’t spend the money.”
The OTEC chief added that the company seeks to hire Bahamians “where we can”. He is also in talks with several Bahamian contractors to build the ocean thermal plants, although he said plans are tentative at this point.
“Clearly we’d like to use local labor where we can,” he said.
“There is no sense in bringing people from the U.S. if we don’t have to. We would use local labor and local contractors wherever we can and we have had discussion with local contractors here.”
On Thursday, BEC signed the Memorandum of Understanding with OTEC.
Kevin Basden, the general manager of BEC, called the deal a “historical” moment for both the company and The Bahamas.
Feakins felt it would be a “shining example” of the possibilities of renewable energy.
Ocean thermal energy, a technology that has been researched for decades, seeks to pump cold water from deep into the ocean into a seaside power plant. This water is then combined with warm water to produce steam, which moves the turbines and produces electricity.
Although the method has been practiced and studied before, The Bahamas, according to Michael Moss, the Chairman of BEC, is an “ideal” candidate to take the technology to the next level.
The Bahamas is located on a unique stretch of ocean with excellent access to particular currents and varying temperatures of water.
Feakins expected engineers from OTEC to arrive in Nassau in the coming weeks.
Moss and Feakins both stressed to Guardian Business that ocean thermal energy is a cutting-edge technique and The Bahamas will truly be ground-breaking in its efforts to bring the power to the general public.
With this in mind, Feakins envisioned it would take time before it could replace or significantly put a dent on the use of standard electricity, although he thought it could provide 30-to-40 percent of the country’s energy needs down the road.
“Frankly, we are going to learn a lot,” he said.
“The development work on the BEC plant will pave the way for larger plants in the future. We look forward to making The Bahamas our major customers – once we prove it can be done, that it’s clean and cost competitive, we look forward to doing more.”

Source: Nassau Guardian

Category/ies:Bahamas News.
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