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Private Sector Wants Renewables Re-Start ‘As Quick As Possible’

The private sector is seeking an urgent meeting with Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) and its new operator in a bid to re-start the Renewable Energy Self Generation (RESG) programme “as quickly as possible”.

Edison Sumner, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) chief executive, told Tribune Business that a restart of the much-touted initiative was among its top priorities.

For that reason, Mr Sumner said the Chamber was seeking a meeting with the Government, BPL and the latter’s new manager, PowerSecure International, having already met with Bahamian players in the renewable energy industry.

I can only say we are working towards a meeting, and having discussion with the Government on the matter,” Mr Sumner said, when contacted by this newspaper.

We have met with some of the persons from that sector. It is on our agenda to discuss, and we are waiting for a response from the Government and PowerSecure to have that meeting.”

Mr Sumner emphasized that the RESG initiative was particularly important to the private sector, given that it directly linked to lower energy costs and energy security, while also potentially benefiting the environment.

It’s high on our list,” he told Tribune Business of the RESG programme. “Anything to do with the cost of energy and security of energy is at the top of our prioritised items.

We want to address that as quickly as possible, once we’ve had the chance to have an audience with those we need to speak with.”

Tribune Business revealed last November how the Government had temporarily suspended the RESG programme to ensure it ‘dovetailed’ with wider energy sector reforms, including PowerSecure’s take over of BPL’s management.

Kevin Basden, the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) former general manager, expressed hope at the time that the move would ultimately result in a “win-win” for consumers and BPL’s subsidiary, even though many in the renewable energy industry reacted with frustration and anger.

We had to defer that,” he said. “It is still a go. It has not been cancelled, just delayed such that when we roll it out it will be properly aligned with everything else that we are doing.”

Mr Basden added that the RESG initiative was “part of the bigger picture” with energy reform, pointing out that the new Electricity Act mandates utility-scale renewable projects be developed in the Bahamas.

BEC’s statement at the time said: “Due to proposed legislative and regulatory changes coming out of the energy sector reform process, it is regrettable that we must suspend the RESG programme,” the BEC statement read.

Customers that may have installed grid tied systems are advised that they must disconnect same until the process restarts, and they complete the required approvals and authorisation process.

Also, customers are advised not to not acquire any new systems until the required process is in place.”

Kenred Dorsett, minister of the environment, also confirmed to Tribune Business at the time that the commercial terms between RESG investors and BPL would have to be worked out with PowerSecure.

Disclosing that this would be part of BPL’s business plan, Mr Dorsett encouraged RESG participants to keep registering their systems.

“The Government remains committed to renewable energy deployment,” Mr Dorsett said, responding to Tribune Business questions via e-mail.

“The commercial terms associated with the RESG programme will be finalized with BPL and form a part of its business plan. In the meantime, my understanding is that persons with renewable energy systems are still registering their systems and should be encouraged to do so.”

Mr Dorsett added then: “My Ministry’s position is very clear. We are not turning our back on a renewable energy future and our commitment to incorporate a minimum of 30 per cent of renewable energy deployment in our energy matrix by the year 2033, as mandated by the National Energy Policy.”


Category/ies:Bahamas News, Renewable Energy.
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