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Renewable energy firm challenges wind energy claim in Bahamas

A renewable energy firm yesterday dismissed as “complete and absolute rubbish” assertions that there is not enough wind speed on New Providence to make this energy form economically feasible for the island, adding that it was “about 50 per cent cheaper” to install than solar panels at the residential level.

Thomas Schneider, chairman of the Bahamas Renewable Energy Corporation (BREC), said in a letter (see Page 3B) to Tribune Business: “Wind Power can and does work in the Bahamas, including in Nassau.

“In fact, wind speeds on New Providence, Nassau, are on average 6.8 m/s (or 15.2 miles per hour) at 150 feet hub height – excluding hurricane data – making it a Class III wind regime similar to most of North America. New Class III wind turbines can easily generate power at low wind speeds with great return on investment.

“Residential scale wind power also generates more electricity with less use of real estate than solar panels, and is also cheaper to install – about 50 per cent less than the cost of solar panels.

“One small residential wind turbine can generate up to 300 kilowatts of nameplate capacity, equivalent to 1,000 solar panels.”

He was responding to Guilden Gilbert, president of Alternative Power Sources (Bahamas), who told Tribune Business earlier this week that wind energy “wouldn’t be economically feasible” in New Providence due to lack of speed, although its deployment could make sense in the remoter south-eastern Bahamas.

He said that while wind turbines normally required speeds of 14 miles per hour (mph) to generate electricity, the average for New Providence was just 8-9 mph.


“I know there’s been talk of wind technology, but most turbines require average daily wind speeds of 14 mph,” Mr Gilbert said. “In Nassau, you get an average of 8-9 mph, so wind turbines wouldn’t be economically feasible.

“I believe that in the south-eastern Bahamas they may be feasible.

“We’re actively working on a project now with a client in the south-eastern Bahamas.

“Where he is now, no BEC is available; he has to generate his own power and not with a generator.

“One option we’re looking at for him is the use of wind, and we’ve installed a test for six months to make sure it’s a viable investment, because we do not want to sell something he will not see a return on investment from.”

Meanwhile, Mr Schneider said BREC had developed more than 3,000 Megawatts (MW) of wind and solar power worldwide.

He added: “We have successfully planned and proven that residential scale wind power solutions work for homeowners in neighbourhoods like Ocean Club, Cable Beach, Lyford Cay and the Out Islands like Abaco and Eleuthera.

“Because we are a leader in designing wind and solar power, and with all the Bahamian wind data we have, I can say with all confidence that it is indeed feasible even in the Megawatt category.

“The key is to have a partner that is an expert in the field, has global resources to get you the best pricing and execute the installation to make sure that it is bankable.

“Most projects are ‘not feasible’ simply because of the bloated margins of local suppliers that prefer selling the more expensive solutions to uneducated buyers.”



Category/ies:Bahamas News.
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