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Energy reform to enhance competitiveness

Energy sector reform is "imperative for attracting new business" according to Minister of Environment & Housing Kendred Dorsett (pictured, stock), who revealed this week that negotiations with successful bidders for the government's new power generation project could begin as early as next month. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Energy sector reform is “imperative for attracting new business” according to Minister of Environment & Housing Kendred Dorsett, who revealed this week that negotiations with successful bidders for the government’s new power generation project could begin as early as next month.


The government intends to replace current power provider, the Bahamas Electricity Corp, with two companies–one responsible for power generation, and the other for its distribution. While the latter will be wholly government owned, the former will be a partnership with a private firm.

In August 2013, 13 bidders applied and the list has now been narrowed down to five. Final submissions are expected by the end of this month.

“It is no secret that the cost of electricity has been a vexing problem for a long time,” Minister Dorsett told delegates at the Bahamas Business Outlook this week.

He said the new system would ensure greater transparency, efficiency and cost effectiveness, as well as allowing for greater use of renewable energy sources and reducing The Bahamas’ dependency on oil.

The government has set a target of generating 30 per cent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030, and Dorsett said the goal is to achieve 10 per cent “in the near term.”

“The use of conservation [methods] and renewable energy sources is extremely important,” he said as he called on businesses to ensure they are using energy efficient devices and carrying out energy audits to determine how they improve standards.

Minister Dorsett said the government had ambitious plans for the sector, including the creation of The Bahamas’ first green subdivision, located on Carmichael Road. Each home in the project will carry energy-saving light bulbs and appliances in a bid to cut costs.

“This will become the model for all public housing projects,” he said.

He also encouraged the use of solar power, calling it ‘the most attainable form of renewable energy” and saying that solar powered water heaters have already been trialled in homes across The Bahamas.

“The government has set a course for change within this vital sector of our society,” said Dorsett. “It is imperative to our economic survival.”

“We must look towards the future and create an energy sector that can support the 21st century Bahamas.”

cmorris@dupuch.com

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