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$5m Solar Energy Park Planned For Grand Bahama

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

A NEW $5-million Solar Energy Park capable of generating 4.5 million kilowatt hours annually of clean, renewable energy is expected to be built in Grand Bahama in the Spring of next year.

The Grand Bahama Power Company shared plans about its first utility-scale solar energy project at the University of the Bahamas’ Sustainable Grand Bahama Conference on Thursday at the Grand Lucaya Resort.

David McGregor, GBPC president, and COO said construction would start this summer on 11 acres of industrial land near its generation plant on West Sunrise Highway.

The three-megawatt solar energy park is a demonstration of GBPC’s commitment to introducing renewable energy on its power grid.

“It will power many Bahamian homes with clean, renewable energy, displace heavy fuel imports and associated emissions,” Mr McGregor said.

He indicated that a second solar energy park would be built at the UB-North to provide energy to the campus and customers in that eastern area.

“Our goal along with UB is to allow the campus to develop as a regional, renewable energy education centre,” he said. GBPC is keen on increasing its renewable energy portfolio, work on economic development energy rate which will be made available to business and investors on Grand Bahama to help attract and retain business here that will ultimately aid in growing the island’s economy.”









Mr McGregor said that they are working with stakeholders to develop an accessible Renewable Energy Writer Programme which will provide investors with a reasonable rate of return on renewable energy investment such as rooftop solar and ensuring reliable energy rates for residents.

GBPC was a major sponsor of the conference, which was held under the theme, "Breaking Down Barriers and Shaping The Future." Dr Rodney Smith, President of UB, and Dr Ian Strachan, vice president of UB-North, were present and spoke at Thursday’s opening.

Dr Strachan noted that the conference is intended to address some critical questions such as ‘How should Grand Bahama grow? What are the missing ingredients to economic growth; growth that not only benefits multi-national corporations, but Grand Bahama from all walks of life?”

He believes that Grand Bahama is poised for transformation.

At Friday’s conference at the UB-North campus, Dr Strachan said that so much could be achieved at the university in Grand Bahama with the $80 million that was spent on BAMSI.

He stated that an engineering and technical school, a maritime training school, and a programme that produces licensed nurses with a bachelors degree are some of the programmes that are lacking at the north campus.

Dr Strachan indicated that a $5-million Scholarship Endowment could be established, and a 200-bed student residence, a student centre, and sporting facilities and shopping plaza are some of the amenities that will significantly enhance and grow the university and attract international students.

Although Grand Bahama is the industrial capital, he stated that the UB-North still does not offer programmes for chemical and technical engineers.

He stressed that Grand Bahama already has the infrastructure needed. He believes that UB-North could be an anchor institution that can stimulate economic development.

Some of the presenters were Kevin Seymour, CFO at Pharmachem Technologies (Grand Bahama )Ltd, Derek Newbold, Business Development Manager at GB Port Authority, Thomas Dean of Dupuch and Turnquest, Vik Nair, Urniversity of the Bahamas Dean of Graduates Studies, Michelle McLeod, Center for Hotel and Tourism, UWI, H Rudy Sawyer, Blue Green Outdoors, Kelley Duncanson, Brigitte Major Donaldson of University of the Bahamas, and Donovan Moxey, Grand Bahama Tech Hub Initiative.

Mike Holding, president of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce also attended.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 1 year, 1 month ago

Ok! Reducing energy cost is the first step to revolution. Dr Strachan is a visionary and he's at the top so we may just be going somewhere

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John 1 year, 1 month ago

Plans should be afoot to solarize every major government building in the country, including schools within 10 years. This should also include schools and major stretches of highway on the family islands. Countries like China, India and Japan have committed to making only electric cars within two to five years. And if you want one of the new n model Tesla electric cars you will have to wait two to three years after placing the order. It will be interesting to see what happens to the price of gasoline over the next few years and The Bahamas and Bahamians will have to be wary of countries trying to dump near obsolete gas powered vehicles in this country in the near future. Will gas powered vehicles become totally obsolete?

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DDK 1 year, 1 month ago

FINALLY a step in the right direction!

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bogart 1 year, 1 month ago

Excellent

Way past due after for how many years everyone including many businesses and companies have complained that the power costs have been one of the highest in the Caribbean and a major deterrant to doing business and had publictly stated so. "Work on economic energy development rate" needs to be quickly turn into cheaper prices reality.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 1 month ago

Dr Strachan believes GB is poised for transformation. I have heard of re renewable energy before. Lest we forget Strachan give credit to the PLP Government for the collage and now the University of the Bahamas. They did many thing RIGHT.

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The_Oracle 1 year, 1 month ago

This will do nothing for reduced energy rates, only their bottom line net profits. Meanwhile, their "Energy Rider Program" as it existed (and until suspended) did not compensate anyone with a private Alt energy system who back fed Kwh. Free to them power which they then sell to other customers at full pop. That program stretched Return on investment from 4 years to 24! A national Energy program is needed but seems this lot can't figure it out. Where does the also suspended national policy sit anyway? Meanwhile, the country bleeds foreign reserves for black gold. Typical. No, we will remain dead last in Alternate energy development in the Caribbean for the foreseeable future.

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ohdrap4 1 year, 1 month ago

yep from time to time some solar energy sales people make a pitch around here.

i have never believed in this 3-4 year return on investment, and, when i did the math, bpl is just cheaper.

the batteries are ridiculously priced, until their cost is reduced, solar is not worth it.

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DWW 1 year, 1 month ago

it is a 5-6 year return. the life of hte Pv cells has not really been tested. could be 50 years. battery technology is still stuck at 10 year. so you pay for it in 6 years, and get 4 years free energy. disposal is the real issue.

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Greentea 1 year, 1 month ago

I have been looking at the way Florida and Florida Power and Light have been operating. I am convinced that their multi-prong approach is the way forward. Bahamians always want a single answer and that never makes sense. I call it religious lottery thinking. As if one thing will solve all problems. (Oban) In Florida the energy plan doesn't seem to involve demanding everyone to transform their homes into individual energy grids- but there is a program giving low interest loans to homeowners to make homes more energy efficient which also includes the installation of hurricane windows. New housing being built are all are mandated to be green builds with some going completely solar. In addition the main grid managed by FPL is generating energy in multiple ways- huge solar component paid for by the other components and now producing a high percentage of their energy. So much so that there was a commercial earlier this year indicating a 30% drop in energy costs. Good gracious! A drop. Compared to us, their energy costs were already low and now this. Why can't Bahamians think in complex ways? Why are we always looking at a single answer? Why can't we develop and maintain systems to solve our problems? Energy generation is one of the major economic dead weights holding this country back. The fact that no government has been able to move forward on solving this issue as long as I have been on this earth speaks volumes for the lack of vision and leadership- and doesn't bode well for the future.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 1 month ago

Why is BPL not investing in these solar plants on the Out Islands?????? ........ This is the perfect solution to get these small electrical markets off fossil fuels ....... and the islands have more than enough space to accommodate solar/wind farms .......... But they worrying about LNG now.

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proudloudandfnm 1 year, 1 month ago

I will never have lithium batteries in my home or my car. Deadly dangerous things. Once they catch fire all you can do is sit and watch. For days.

Time to get real. Lithium is as nasty as oil. Maybe worse. It is not the solution...

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