NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – The Bahamas government says it is important to develop alternate forms of energy complaining of the high cost of energy tis also impacting on foreign investment into the country.
“These are issues that concern us and let me just state it for you. The cost of electricity is an extraordinary drain and has an extraordinary impact on Bahamian families. We all agree with that," Prime Minister Perry Christie said.
"The impact on investors, for those that exist is an extraordinary high impact in the sense that investors are telling us,” he said, noting that a senior official of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) had recently indicated that the operational costs for investors and commercial entities is as high as 20 per cent.
"Anyone looking at the economic situation in our country and saying that they want to invest, whether it is in Bimini, whether it is in Grand Bahama, they face this extraordinary, intimidating circumstance of the costs.
"When we were in opposition, we made a determination that a priority would mean addressing electricity. We had, as you have heard, any number of proposals. The FNM was obviously driven to try and do the same thing,” Prime Minister Christie said as he reflected on past debates on the issue in Parliament.
“I remember ostentatious intervention in our country … they began giving out light bulbs, saying that those light bulbs were going to bring about a new culture in reducing the cost of electricity. I had been taught by my wife that LED lighting could reduce significantly the cost, solar could reduce the cost, I agree with you, but we will get to receive the proposals.”
Prime Minister Christie said they have received applications from Bahamian and foreign roots in combination, who have indicated in their proposals that they will effect savings of US$100 million a year from BEC.
He said the government has had proposals to convert solid waste into electricity, solar into electricity, windmills and wave energy. He said of the significant number of proposals, some have been very strong in having the private sector generate electricity.
Prime Minister Christie said a group of Bahamians visited a plant in Malaysia, where six engineers ran the 500 megawatts computer operated electricity plant that generated wind energy into electricity and that generating that kind of power is equivalent to twice the size of the current electricity yielding of the diesel generator operations housed at BEC.
"This is the point I stood up to make, every member of this Parliament knows the history of BEC, the history of labour relations of BEC, the history of The Bahamas of being able to have government corporations that have to be subsidised, government corporations that are over dependent on labour, government corporations that when you do a cost analysis of it, that it actually really messes around with our people," said Christie.
"My government is determined to bring an improvement to this sometime this year. We have established a technical team of Bahamians who have been joined with two external consultants who are now examining these proposals," Prime Minister Christie added.