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?”