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Regulator Admits Renewable Energy Roll-Out ‘Relatively Slow’

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

Energy regulators yesterday revealed there has been a “relatively slow” take-up of small-scale renewable generation with just 2.1 megawatts (MW) installed to-date.

Stephen Bereaux, the Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority’s (URCA) chief executive, said it had approved the installation of double that amount “in principle” under the small-scale residential generation (SSRG) programme.

Addressing the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) Energy Security Forum, he added that the regulator expects to have Bahamas Power & Light’s (BPL) renewable energy plan delivered its final form by August. That plan, Mr Bereaux said, will help to determine “where and when” larger scale renewables are added to the grid.

Referring to the SSRG initiative, the URCA chief said: “We have seen a relatively small take up of the programme because of a number of reasons. So far, to-date about 2.1 MW of installed online capacity through that programme, and something like 4.2 MW approved in principle that URCA has given.”

Mr Bereaux said utilising renewable energy in The Bahamas was not without its challenges. “We have found over the years that the process of engaging in renewables has some bottlenecks, and is perhaps a little more complicated than it should be,” he added.

“One of the things we want to do this year is clearly outline it so that people understand what the process should be, and cut out any unnecessary red tape that might be in the process.”

Mr Bereaux said homeowners also need to be educated on what size solar system fits their home. “Ensuring people buy the right system for their property is essential to making the SSRG system work effectively,” he said Mr Bereaux, adding that URCA will look to assist with energy audits.

He said the regulator has not been able to take the necessary control over the SSRG initiative so that it can really take off. Mr Bereaux added that prior to its launch there had already been a significant number of solar installations.

Mr Bereaux said URCA will seek to promote greater take-up of the SSRG programme, as well as the registration of installations prior to its introduction, “without prejudice or penalty”. He added that URCA also has plans to install its own solar car park.

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