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Activist Slams Shell Lng Deal As ‘Regressive Step’

A WELL-known environmentalist yesterday said the adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the Bahamas’ main power source is a “huge regressive step”, questioning why the Government was not aggressively pursuing solar energy.

Sam Duncombe, reEarth’s president, who campaigned against the AES LNG pipeline project more than a decade ago, blasted: “What are we thinking about?

Speaking with Tribune Business on the recent announcement that Shell North America has been confirmed as the preferred bidder to construct a 270 Mega Watt (MW) LNG fuelled power plant at Clifton Pier to supply Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), Mrs Duncombe said: “This is another huge regressive step.

“ReEarth spent six years fighting the AES pipeline that would have taken natural gas from a re-gasification facility on Ocean Cay to Florida, so that we wouldn’t become basically Florida’s gas station. All of the safety concerns are still there.”

She added: “You are now talking about putting an LNG plant right next to Mount Pleasant, Adelaide, Albany and Lyford Cay. All of those communities are in potential danger. We have so many issues to deal with in this country that to go back and rehash stuff we have already dealt with is so backward and so discouraging. The lack of transparency around these deals, the Oban deal, the LNG deal is discouraging.”

Mrs Duncombe argued that this nation should be aggressively pursuing renewable energy solutions to address its energy needs. “We live in a country that has 315 days sunshine and nine average hours sun a day,” she said. We were promised renewable energy.

“We’re getting tiny little bits of that, and this government’s focus seems to be continuing on with fossil fuels and that is a very disturbing trend to me. We should be moving away from those fuels into renewable energy.  LNG is a fossil fuel. What are we thinking about? We should be taking steps to reduce our fossil fuel consumption and the amount of emissions being released in the atmosphere.”

Mrs Duncombe added: “I am disgusted and very concerned about the lack of forward thinking, transparency and accountability. Many will say now the LNG is for us, but it’s still the wrong direction. The thing is if LNG is released into the atmosphere it is 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide in terms of trapping gas in the earth’s atmosphere.

“While it’s cleaner on one hand, it’s not so much cleaner on the other. We already have so many issues associated with Clifton and the constant oil coming out there.

“How do we figure that somehow we are going to do it better than we have done the oil situation? I just don’t see that happening. Why haven’t we aggressively gone after companies that are doing solar? We act as though we don’t know solar energy works.”

Former Cabinet Minister and businessman, Leslie Miller, who strongly advocated for LNG during his tenure as minister of trade and industry under the first Christie administration, hailed the recent announcement that Shell North America has been confirmed as the preferred bidder.

He said it was a “crying shame” that the Bahamas “missed the boat” on LNG 15 years ago, and questioned: “Where are the critics now?”

Comments

DDK 6 months, 1 week ago

Why indeed use fricking fracking gas when the Bahamas is blessed with an abundance of sun and wind?? Whose palm was greased this time? Why not just take the leap and go for renewables one time or would that process possibly be too complicated for our people?

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observer2 6 months, 1 week ago

DDK.

Unfortunately the fossil fuel cartel will suppress the development clean energy (solar, wind, ocean waves and geothermal) in a similar way that BEC suppressed clean energy for over half a century. FPL energy bills in Florida are down almost 50% over the last 10 years with the aggressive roll out of solar farms.

There are hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent on the construction of an LNG generation plant, shipment and storage of LNG fuel to the Bahamas. Not to mention the spin off legal fees, banking loans, environment consultancy fees, government taxes, jobs etc. There is just too much foreign oil money coming in for our greedy politicians to ignore. Solar just can't compete with this cash flow. Not to mention that BEC has a monopoly on power generation for the entire Bahamas except in the Haitian Shanty Towns. There is no other developed country in the world where power generation is owned by the government or monopolized by one company. The foundation is being laid for a new system of abuse and corruption for the next 100 years built on LNG. Bahamians will continue to suffer for generations to come while a few (Bay St and Sunshine Boys) will continue to accumulate wealth beyond measure. Make no mistake where the political elites get their primary financing from.

There are also large safety risks involved with liquefied natural gas which the country discussed over 20 years ago when a project to build an LNG plant off the coast of Bimini was being discussed.

Remember the environmental concerns back then? This time it worse because the storage will be at Arawak Cay and ground transportation on Bay St to Clifton Pier will have its own safety risks.

Wow, we do have a short memory. Forget about Oban, Baha Mar etc. Lets move on to the next foreign investor disaster.

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DDK 6 months ago

I know you are right and understand the reasons why. What I do not understand is why we have to accept being lied to by politicians over and over and over again. Every time we get our hopes up, they are dashed. Will our People ever unite and stand up against the avarice of the elitists? Time for a revolution..........

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proudloudandfnm 6 months, 1 week ago

I will never have lithium batteries in my home or my car.

Stop the madness. If lithium batteries are our only hope I will stick with gas. Lithium batteries are nasty. Mining them is nasty and a fender bender can cause them to ignite. Lithium batteries also go bad. And they are expensive. They are not the future. Now if you can do solar without lithium batteries we can talk..

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DDK 6 months, 1 week ago

We really need a pure democracy where such major projects should CLEARLY and HONESTLY, with all pros and cons outlined, be presented to The People who are allowed to have a voice in the deciding of their implementation.

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realitycheck242 6 months, 1 week ago

LNG at this time is not the perfect solution but it surly is a big step in the right direction. Think of the lower cost of electricity for all ....savings that can be spent otherwise by consumers in 18 months. The size and specifications for a solar renewable powerplant able to generate in over 250 megawatts of power for an island the size of Nassau would require thousands of acres of barren land, rooftop's or parking lots for such a installation ...with the advancement of technology in the renewable arena, the Bahamas can scale a renewable energy infrastructure using many sources in the near future but we haved creeped along with fossil fuels for decades , we are going to walk with LNG and we will run with renewables in the future as those technologies matures .....I commend the government the government for taking this next step with the projected cost being only 100 million dollars.

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jus2cents 6 months, 1 week ago

FFS are we insane!!?? Have you seen the state of Clifton Piers power plant? We cant maintain a simple power plant never mind a deadly gas and explosive product like LNG!!! Plus BEC / BPL it sits exposed to the elements, ravaged by hurricanes, its an environmental mess, leaking oil into the sea and it has not been fixed in decades!

An LNG plant by the corrosive sea air...this is just asking for trouble, beyond Stupid on all levels.

Why do these money grubbing idiots seem to want to destroy this god given paradise? Pure GREED for a FEW to get rich, this will not help the majority of people, but the majority will be the ones that suffer the consequences.

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TheMadHatter 6 months, 1 week ago

The existing plant should not be shut down until the new LNG plant can show production at a certain very much improved cost. They should run in parallel circuitry with the existing plant for 3 months and if rates don't improve then they should be SHUT DOWN. This should be written in to the heads of agreement in plain english - not like the chinglish they used in The Pointe agreement.

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realitycheck242 6 months, 1 week ago

The existing plant at clifton pier will be upgraded to accomodate LNG. This will not be new rocket science, this has already been done in Jamaica and is already in the signed agreement. There will be no need for a parallel run with clifton's present equipment.

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jboo 6 months, 1 week ago

Why do we fight every single progress that comes our way. If we had done LNG a decade ago then maybe BEC would've been in a better addition to afford Solar. We have to do something and obviously solar isn't happening right now. I mean installing solar on a residential house is around $15,000. Lets just build the new plant, switch to LNG, finally get rid of the 50+ year old diesel generators and ease the strain on the Bahamian people with lower bills and stable electrcity. Then after a couple years we can phase in some solar technology. All this fear mongering needs to stop.

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TheMadHatter 6 months, 1 week ago

Then we will be out of luck. Costs will go up and they will say the equipment changes are not reversible.

Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids.

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Socrates 6 months ago

i'm sure all the concerns expressed have been raised elsewhere. just find the solutions and apply as necessary. frankly i dont see massive solar panel farms or windmills or anything else so while these may be preferred options for some, i think its all pretty much unrealistic based on where we are as far as our development is concerned..

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