By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
CABINET has approved the investment in renewable energy for storm-ravaged Ragged Island, according to Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister, who said on Friday repairs are underway.
"Cabinet has just approved the investment in renewable energy in Ragged Island," he said, "and so you will see somethings happen in respect to renewables there. Our engineers are almost ready with the plans for the infrastructure in Ragged Island. In fact we are at the stage of looking at contractors so you will see infrastructure start in Ragged Island.
"Ragged island is a very special case," Mr Bannister continued, "we have to be able to have all the electrical infrastructure in place and then we have to be able to have contractors mobilized and moved there."
The Minister was adamant that the project would not face challenges due to poor planning, and referenced the construction of the Bahamas Agriculture and Maritime Institute.
"You have to look at a certain type of structures, you have to look at certain types of land, and we want to make sure we don’t have the challenges that they had in BAMSI and your memories can’t be short about these things. Your remember when millions of dollars of infrastructure was built in BAMSI over places where you have sink holes coming out and we are not going to have that happen on my watch," Mr Bannister said.
"When you see school in Gregory Town start and the construction start in Ragged Island where there is firm land and the Bahamian people can be assured we gone have good infrastructure."
When asked about the price tag of this project, Mr Bannister said: "As soon as they go out to tender I will let you know. I’m not going to say that because it goes out to tender and I can’t tell the contractors in advance how much to tender for something."
Dr Hubert Minnis last year said techno-economic modeling for Ragged Island’s electrical grid had been completed by the Rocky Mountain Institute. Ragged Island was decimated by Hurricane Irma in 2017.
In March, Christopher Burgess, director of projects for the Islands Energy Programme at the Rocky Mountain Institute – Carbon War Room (RMI-CWR), said renewable energy penetration for the island will be as high as 95 percent through a solar plant that will be owned by Bahamas Power & Light (BPL).
The Ragged Island project is the second phase of procurement, according to Mr Burgess at the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce & Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) Energy Security Forum.