NASSAU, The Bahamas – Representatives of a cross-section of government agencies including permanent secretaries, directors, and financial officers participated in the third Steering Committee Meeting with respect to the IDB project, ‘Reconstruction with Resilience in the Energy Sector in The Bahamas’ on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
Simon Wilson, Financial Secretary, chaired the meeting held at the Ministry of Finance. Also in attendance were Marco Rolle, Programme Coordinator; Elise Delancy, Communications and Training Specialist; Daniela Carrera-Marquis, IDB Country Representative/Bahamas and officials from the Project Execution Unit of the Ministry of Finance. Representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and government officials joined the meeting virtually.
During the 2-hour long meeting reports (financial included) and updates on current projects were presented on the $80 million IDB loan programme which is supplemented with a $9 million grant provided by the European Union (EU).
In August 2020, an $80 million loan was executed with IDB for the “Reconstruction with Resilience in the Energy Sector in The Bahamas”.
The objective of the loan is to support the Government with the rehabilitation of critical energy infrastructure and restoration of electricity service in islands heavily-affected by Hurricane Dorian, while facilitating the integration of Renewable Energy (RE).
Specific objectives are to:
(i) Support the rehabilitation of the electricity transmission and distribution system and installation of new and resilient RE capacity in Abaco and East Grand Bahama;
(ii) Promote the adoption of solar PV technologies in the Family Islands; and
(iii) Contribute to the improvement of the regulatory framework for RE technologies and the mechanisms for its deployment.
In March, 2022 the government signed a $9 million contract funded by the EU in partnership with the IDB to assist in the expanded use of clean, renewable energy, and promote post-hurricane “Reconstruction with Resilience” in The Bahamas.
Ms. Carrera-Marquis said discussions centered on the execution of all projects related to RE in The Bahamas in an effort to get closer to the target of 30% of RE in 2030.
She said, “We have been working on this project since 2020 and this includes not only RE in New Providence and the Family Islands, also the reconstruction of some of the assets destroyed by [Hurricane] Dorian in Abaco and East Grand Bahama.
“For the Family Islands the solution identified is solar micro grids that would be more resilient in case of hurricanes and that would restore in full the capacity of both islands. For New Providence, it’s more about roof tops of public buildings, schools and eventually some clinics.
“The work has already started and were almost half-way on the execution. This year is going to be very critical for the micro grids in the Family Islands.
“A lot of things are going on and we have really have advanced a lot in the capacity of not only planning and seeing this from a strategic point of view, but adding all the elements between the renewable, the electric mobility, the shifting for the dependence on fuel and then obviously the building up on the resilient factor, which is so important for The Bahamas given the propensity of natural disasters. You want to make sure you have all of these components in order to have a more resilient system for the energy, and eventually a lower cost for the people of The Bahamas.”