Chamber: New BPL plant good for business expansion
Notwithstanding the concerns regarding the deal struck between Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) and Finnish tech company Wartsila for a new power plant, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) is hoping the expanded, more reliable power generation would catalyze development and business in The Bahamas.
Wartsila was contracted to install seven of its new engines that would produce 132 megawatts of power at BPL’s Clifton Pier site by the end of summer.
“In one aspect this is awesome that hopefully by July or August we will actually have new generation from Clifton, not something that is going to have to be serviced immediately, that will have emergency things going on; it will be new service. And it’s a third of what the whole country needs, so that’s good news,” BCCEC’s Energy and Environment Committee Chairperson Deborah Deal told Guardian Business.
“They’re putting in seven 28-megawatt engines, which is 132 megawatts. Blue Hills has 170-megawatt [capacity] and, of course, our backup what we’ll be able to get rid of. I’m thinking that what they’re doing is they’re planning for the future.
“Instead of keeping us with 250 megawatts or 275, they’re planning on 300 or 350 megawatts of new generation. Because if another Baha Mar comes online, how are we going to do that?”
The government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Shell Gas and Power Development B.V. in November for a gas-to-power project for the development of marine infrastructure to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG), a gas pipeline to bring gas to shore, an onshore LNG regasification terminal and a new gas-fire 220-plus megawatt power plant.
BPL CEO Whitney Heastie said on Monday that Wartsila was contracted to produce the first 132 megawatts of the plant with another 90 megawatts to be produced upon the completion of Shell’s development project.
It is unclear how BPL’s Blue Hills plant will be impacted.
“When you look at the national development plan that was done, it was all done on growth. Whether it was roads, infrastructure for airports or docks, it was all on growth. So, I have to assume that BPL has done exactly the same thing; where do we want to be in 20 or 50 years?” Deal said.