NASSAU, The Bahamas — A delegation of technical officers, representing the Inter-American Development Bank Energy Mission and the Project Execution Unit (PEU) in the Ministry of Finance working on the ‘Reconstruction with Resiliencein the Energy Sector in The Bahamas’ programme, toured various sites in New Providence and Abaco featuring solar renewable energy installations.
The programme, with support from the IDB and the EU, aims to advance deployment of renewable energy (RE) in The Bahamas, with a target of 30% RE in 2030 — working towards increased energy resilience, and lower costs.
The New Providence site tour commenced on Tuesday, 17th January, at the BPL Battery Energy Storage System (still in construction) off Baillou Hill Road. Chief Technical Officer at Bahamas Power & Light, Burlington Strachan, led the tour. He explained the various aspects of the systems and gave an overview of how the standby solar batteries would work. He also explained how the infrastructure is currently being installed to facilitate the batteries, which arrive this month.
He said that the batteries represent a transfer from fossil fuel to a more green energy system, and would minimize the current wastage of fuel especially after a power outage, when more fuel is required to power the grid.
In addition, he explained, the batteries would reduce electrical trips of the feeds, as the new system provides a more stable frequency of voltage.
The first installation will take place when the batteries arrive in country this month. It is expected that the system would be operational by the end of March, once installation is completed.
The next site visit took place at C.V. Bethel High School, off East Street South, where Principal, Harcourt McCoy, gave the delegation a brief tour of the areas where solar panels were installed in three areas at the school. The panels were installed by Compass Solar. The company Representative, Philipp Feller was in attendance and gave an overview of the installation process as well, as details of the energy capacity of the panels. He said that the panels are able to power the school during the day, thereby keeping the school off-grid, which is a significant savings for the school.
After leaving C.V. Bethel, the delegation paid a visit to the campus of T.G. Glover Primary School in Oakes Field, where solar panels are currently being installed. Principal, Shenique Curry welcomed the delegation and took them to the areas where solar panels would be installed. Philipp Feller, who also accompanied the delegation to the school, gave an overview of the installation process there. He said that 430 panels would be installed at the school.
The following day, Wednesday, 18th January, the delegation travelled to Abaco to review reconstruction works of the Transmission & Distribution systems there. Since 2020, the IDB has been involved with RE installation in New Providence and the Family Islands, as well as reconstruction of some of the assets destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in Abaco and East Grand Bahama.
In Abaco, BPL Chief Operations Officer, Toni Seymour accompanied the delegates. She explained some of the works currently being carried out. While in Abaco, the delegates visited the Wilson City Power Station, the Marsh Harbour Generation Plant, the proposed site for the new Red Bays Sub-station and the proposed site for the Solar Park across from the government clinic in the community of Seven Hills.