By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
RAGGED Island’s renewable energy penetration will be as high as 95 percent through a solar plant that will be owned by Bahamas Power & Light (BPL), it was revealed yesterday.
Christopher Burgess, director of projects for the Islands Energy Programme at the Rocky Mountain Institute – Carbon War Room (RMI-CWR), said other Family Islands offer attractive opportunities for independent power producers (IPP).
He told the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce & Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) Energy Security Forum: “The Ragged Island project is the second phase of procurement. That would be a solar and storage installation, somewhere around 300 kilowatts (kW), with firm battery storage that would take that island to about 95 percent solar and storage.
“They were paying about 75 cents to generate so it was an easy economic decision to take Ragged Island to that high penetration of renewables. That will be owned by BPL. We don’t think a one-off system that small, and that far down the archipelago, would be attractive to an IPP. Large systems - Eleuthera, Abaco and Bimini - would be more attractive to an IPP or in a structure for procurement in the future to reflect that commercial case.”
Mr Burgess continued: “The Family Islands are where we see a lot of solar and storage growth just because the SSRG (small scale renewable generation) programme is here.” He added that until grid stability is obtained there will not be many opportunities for independent power producers on New Providence.
“We don’t see a lot of IPP opportunities on New Providence until the natural gas does whatever that’s going to do. As soon as that is in place, you can understand your load, you projections where you need to fill in the gaps,” Mr Burgess explained.
Dr Hubert Minnis last year said techno-economic modelling for Ragged Island’s electrical grid had been completed by the Rocky Mountain Institute. Ragged Island was decimated by Hurricane Irma in 2017.