By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) executive chairman has branded as “fiction” and “far-fetched” the assertion by Stellar Energy that its waste-to-energy plant could produce 75-80 Mega Watts of power daily, telling Tribune Business: “The capacity just isn’t there”.
Leslie Miller, in a recent interview with Tribune Business, again denied that he knew of Stellar Energy and its proposal, despite sources close to the company suggesting that he and the BEC Board had been aware of it from just two months after the May 2012 general election.
They indicated that Stellar Energy gave a presentation to most of BEC’s directors in the Corporation’s Boardroom in July 2012, but Mr Miller denied this ever happened.
Speaking on the issue, he said: “I know nothing about Stellar.” When asked whether the company had made a presentation to the BEC Board regarding its waste-to-energy proposal, Mr Miller responded: “They sure didn’t make it to Leslie Miller. They did not make it to BEC’s Board of Directors and did not make it to Leslie Miller. I don’t know them and don’t want to know them.”
And the outspoken BEC chairman added: “The whole proposal as far as I’m concerned is fiction. It’s the biggest joke from here to the deepest part of hell.
“It costs right now, to produce 1 MW of power, $1 million. I don’t know why you would spend $600 million to produce 80 MW of power. That is so far-fetched it’s even pathetic to discuss. You cannot produce 80 MW of power from the city dump; the capacity just isn’t there, not unless we are going to import garbage.”
Others, including the Waste Not’s principal, Ginny McKinney, who was part of the Bahamian consortium that proposed a waste-to-energy plant solution for the New Providence landfill, and former minister of state for the environment, Phenton Neymour, have also expressed surprise at Stellar Energy’s claims that its plasma-based technology could generate 75-80 MW of power.
Most proposals have estimated that between 20-40 MW could be generated from the waste streams at the landfill, but Stellar Energy and its principal, Dr Fabrizio Zanaboni, have pointed to studies they commissioned showing that 75-80 MW can be generated.
Mr Miller’s dismissive response to the Stellar Energy project also raises further questions, as the Letter of Intent (LOI) allegedly signed by Renward Wells, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Works, was said to be on behalf of BEC.
If that is so, the question then arises as to why BEC was the supposed counterparty on the other side, given its seeming misgivings about the amount of energy Stellar’s proposal can produce.
Further unanswered questions surrounding the LOI concern whether the document in question was drawn up by the Attorney General’s Office or the attorneys acting for the developers.
Normally, all agreements between the Government and investors are drawn up by the Attorney General’s Office, and another issue is whether an attorney from that Ministry pre-vetted the document and gave the go-ahead for it to be signed.
Tribune Business, though, has obtained further evidence that suggests even Stellar Energy itself believes the LOI is not legally binding on the Government.
It is merely a ‘deal in principle’, whereby numerous conditions and terms have to be met before a final agreement can be negotiated and reached.
Stellar Energy’s plans were first brought to the fore last November when Tribune Business reported exclusively that the company was offering to build and operate a $600 million plasma waste-to-energy plant at the New Providence landfill. The company’s principals said the plant would generate up to 80 MW of power to sell to BEC and create 400-500 full-time jobs.