Pessimism about The Bahamas’ renewable energy targets

Solar panels. Image: Windwärts Energie.
Energy

The Bahamas has set a target of producing 30% of its energy needs from sustainable sources by the year 2030.  However, the Bahamas Tribune reports that there are doubts about whether that goal is feasible:

The Bahamas “is never going to make” the National Energy Policy’s (NEP) goals, providers warned yesterday, with nine megawatts (MW) of renewable capacity required every year to hit target.

Philip Holdom, Alternative Power Supply’s (APS) president, told Tribune Business that The Bahamas was “nowhere close” to achieving that renewable expansion rate, which he said is now needed to hit the NEP target of producing 30 percent of this nation’s energy needs from sustainable sources by 2030.

His warning came as the Government moves to create an Energy Planning Unit (EPU), which will be charged with creating the road map and framework for the Bahamas to achieve these goals.

An Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) document, setting out a $450,000 project to support the Electricity Act’s proper implementation, found that “policy and data gaps” were preventing the Bahamas from shedding its position as the Caribbean’s worst for renewable energy penetration.

The report, obtained by Tribune Business, said the NEP’s “ambitious targets” for renewable energy uptake were being hindered by the absence of an execution mechanism and “poor co-ordination” between the Government, private sector and regulators.

Setting the scene, the IDB report said: “The Bahamas ranks lowest in the region for renewable energy penetration, suffers from a high fuel import bill (7 percent of GDP), high and volatile electricity prices, as well as a large and financially challenged utility, Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), which experiences frequent power outages and elevated system losses.

“Additionally, in recent years, The Bahamas has suffered from strong natural disasters that impacted its GDP and energy sector, underlining the need to plan for more resilient energy infrastructure.”

The reformed Electricity Act, and appointment of the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) as sector regulator, were meant to address these challenges but, to-date, have had little practical effect.

“The sustainable energy landscape within The Bahamas continues to be constrained by policy and data gaps, and lacks the resources (financial and human) that are necessary for implementing the robust administrative and governance arrangements that are necessary for effective implementation and coordination of efforts,” the IDB report found.

For more read the full Tribune report.

[Image: Windwärts Energie]

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