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Five days without electricity for Ragged Island residents

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

SOME Ragged Island residents incensed by a five-day electricity blackout last week have questioned whether the island’s newly commissioned solar plant is effectively servicing Bahamas Power and Light customers.

In interviews with The Tribune, residents recalled the “struggle” they experienced when a generator supplying power to about 50 customers on the island was struck by lightning leaving them without electricity.

While power was restored over the weekend through a replacement generator, BPL’s chief technology officer Burlington Strachan told The Tribune yesterday that the solar plant was not working during the commissioning ceremony last month.

 However, he was adamant that before this issue, the $5m microgrid had been functioning properly since December.

 “There was a major lightning storm on Ragged Island that damaged the conventional generator and caused issues with the batteries storage system – the micro grid,” Mr Strachan said yesterday.

 “We are currently assessing that situation. We already got conventional generation back to the island. It happened early Sunday morning and so we are diagnosing the problem right now with respect to the microgrid and the remote communications to it with an intention to get it up and functional as quickly as possible.”

 Asked about the concerns of residents that the microgrid had not been functioning consistently, he said: “The microgrid was functioning from December of last year up until commissioning.

 “We had an incident at one point where there was a component failure that we had to get addressed and it was a while when we were waiting for that part to come in from the manufacturer under the warranty and then we had this incident as well.

 “Some of the issues with the power on Ragged Island were not due to the microgrid, but were due to other things and so this is really no different from any other power system. It’s just solar based so there will be issues from time to time, but the system has been functioning as expected.”

 He continued: “We had the part failure before the commissioning and then after the commissioning we had this issue with the lightning strike and so that’s why we were sort of running the system.

 “They saw frequent outages because we were running the microgrid in the day and then switching to conventional generation during the night to minimise having long outages.

 “They were having shorter outages.”

 Ty Wallace, a Ragged Island resident, thinks that the grid has been of little benefit to Ragged Islanders.

 “They installed the solar system there when they had the big ‘to do’ the other day with the prime minister and deputy prime minister coming to Ragged Island. At the time when they announced Ragged Island to be the first green island or whatever the system was not working at that time, period.

 “When they installed the system, it ran for maybe three weeks then it shut down.

 “The guys got it sorted and it ran for another two weeks. Then it went back down, and we had to run on the generator from then until the generator was struck by lightning last week.

 “Then there was no power for five days and then the generator was sent. That solar plant is not working at all,” he said.

 Another resident, Kervin Wallace, described the microgrid as “garbage”.

 “It has to be pure garbage,” Mr Wallace said, adding that he was affected “big time” by there being no power on the island last week. He arrived in Nassau on Friday leaving his family on Ragged Island struggling with having no electricity.

 Meanwhile, another resident said she had no water and was initially hard pressed to find canned gas for her portable stove.

 “It was a struggle. You didn’t have any water,” the woman, who did not want to be named, said. “You had to search and find water and all of the residents have rainwater tanks so you just had to make do.

 “When night came you had to go to your bed because there was no power. Like how I have an electric stove I had a portable lil’ hurricane stove, so I was able to use that. There was trouble finding gas, but I did get some eventually.”

Comments

tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

And to think the Chinese Communist Party is telling their man cruel Davis and his green new deal zealots that the entire Bahamas must capitalize on its abundant sunshine by transforming its fossil fuel based power system to a solar based one. And of course that would mean the Bahamas borrowing from Communist China to buy the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of solar panels, lithium batteries and other related equipment, all manufacturered in Communist China, and becoming fully dependent on the Chinese Communist Party ("CCP") for maintaining our solar technology going forward. What a damn joke if there ever was one!

No doubt Vomit Christie and other senior Bahamian representatives of the CCP would have an equity stake in the Communist China based companies that would handsomely profit from the massive and very costly undertaking to solarize our country's electrical power system. Can you just imagine how unreliable electrical power would become in our country (not that's its great now), not to mention the harm that would be done to our national security interests.

Are Bahamian going to find CCP representatives included on their constituency ballot when they next go to the polls to vote, thanks in great part to the likes of Vomit Christie and Cruel Davis?

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DWW 2 months, 1 week ago

how much cash flow will you lose when we ditch dirty deisel generation?

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tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

Much less than you're gonna make off of those outrageously priced solar panels and lithium batteries. LOL

Besides, I'm not Snake and would never ever work for someone like him.

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ohdrap4 2 months, 1 week ago

NO. IT WILL NOT SERVICE THEM WELL.

SOLAR ENERGY IS HYPE, AND YOU ALL HAVE BEEN HAD.

Now watch the solar panels , which are sold to you with a 15 year useful life deteriprate after 5 years. yep, 5 years. the rain destroys the panels. Go ask the people who buy solar water heaters.

So you need new batteries and new panels every 5 years.

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DWW 2 months, 1 week ago

clearly ill informed and or self ulterior motives here?

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tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

Those lithium batteries are far more toxic than even Snake's dirty diesel fuel spills. LMAO

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DWW 2 months, 1 week ago

ever heard of lighting grounding protection? In this day and age lightning should not be a cause for an outage and if it is it means teh installer screwed up or the operator disconnected the grounding equipment. My bet is on the later given the value of copper on the open market. For this to be malfunctioning is a clear indictment on the skill set and management of BPL.

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