Renewable energy options for Baha Mar being explored
Renewable energy options are being explored for Baha Mar, with an executive of the $3.4 billion development saying generating power from the sea is a feasible option for the property.
Senior vice president of government and external affairs for Baha Mar Robert Sands told Guardian Business yesterday that non-traditional forms of energy production are being looked at for the resort, confirming that discussions are active with the government to determine the best option.
“We have presented a number of proposals to the government and are currently evaluating our options,” Sands said. “We are looking at deep sea cooling, which will create a significant reduction in terms of electricity costs. We’ve had multiple meetings.”
Deep sea cooling involves using cold water pumped from the bottom of the ocean that can be utilized for climate control systems. This method can reduce the electrical demands of large cooling systems where it is implemented.
It’s a concept that’s endorsed by chairman of the Bahamas Renewable Energy Corporation Thomas Schneider, who said it will create thousands of dollars in savings for Baha Mar and possibly lower costs for customers.
“The energy cost savings would be tremendous, reducing the need to charge a high resort and energy fee to hotel guests – because most guests deplore those ‘surprise’ fees at Bahamian hotels,” Schneider told Guardian Business.
Schneider also suggested other ways renewable energy could be utilized at the mega-resort.
“Ocean energy can be used, but rather than using the tides, a simpler way to go about it is using a heat exchanging mechanism,” he said. “Think of a pipe that has water in it – it’s cooler at the bottom of the ocean than it is on land, so piping water to the bottom of the ocean will cool it. Combined with a heat exchanger this process will allow for cooling/air-conditioning. We just have to make sure that it is done in such a way as to not harm our beaches and coral reefs.”
He continued, “Rooftops of the Baha Mar properties can carry solar panels. But rather than clunky metal solar panels on top of the roof, new thin film technology allows direct integration into the roof tiles. It’s clean and looks good to the tourists’ eye. The ridge behind the golf course would be great for wind power, it creates another potential destination for tourists and at the same time because it’s behind the resort, the ‘ocean view’ of hotel guests won’t be obstructed.”
The potential of such energy resources was also noticed by Minister of State for the Environment Phenton Neymour, specifically how it would reduce the load demand from the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).
“Ocean energy is used for cooling [with air conditioners] so it’s a way of saving energy, so I’m hoping that others can benefit from that,” Neymour told Guardian Business last week. “What is important is knowing that if Baha Mar is successful or others are successful, what it does is lower the demand on BEC and therefore lessens the need for BEC to invest more and expand their facility. So there’s a benefit to the user and there’s also a benefit to BEC and as a result it lowers our fuel consumption.”