Consultant outlines needed changes by govt to reap benefits of renewable energy
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday the government is set to make announcements on energy sector reform and solarization.
Meantime, a local expert told Guardian Business that government has to make changes across many sectors of the society in order to truly reap the benefits of renewable energy.
Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) consultant Kendria Ferguson explained to this paper yesterday that if The Bahamas is to become a leader in sustainable energy, it not only has to implement renewable energy into its energy grid, but also take a look at building codes and heads of agreements with large hotels and resorts.
Ferguson said while implementing solar or wind to supplement the country’s power – which is predominantly supplied by burning fossil fuels – government has to simultaneously educate the public on how to make their houses more energy efficient and affect changes in the building code so that structures are “functional and efficient”.
She added that large development projects should have written into their agreements a clause that requires them to produce a respectable percentage of its power through renewable energy.
“Think of the amount of energy Atlantis and Baha Mar require,” she said.
“If you took those properties off the island, you would not have major power outages or massive amounts of waste going to the landfill.”
Another vexing problem cited by Ferguson is the huge financial commitment by governments to move a country towards a majority dependency on renewable energy. She cited the country’s outdated electrical distribution grid as just one multimillion-dollar problem that will have to be solved to improve the country’s energy woes.
Companies that want to bring large-scale renewable energy production to New Providence have claimed that they can fully fund their projects and would require no money from the government to begin their operations.
“Currently we’re still using fuel that’s banned by a lot of countries and it is causing a tremendous amount of environmental impact,” said Ferguson.
“We need to be switching over to a more renewable source, whether it’s LNG (liquid natural gas) or incorporating solar and wind energy.
“The Caribbean itself is far behind because these switches tend to be a huge financial burden and you need more finances than our economy can actually handle. But we’re behind in the sense that it’s been an obvious choice for us for a long time to incorporate renewable energy, since we have sun in abundance, we have wind in abundance and we can use our ocean currents.”
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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