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Bannister: Reliable and cheaper electricity by year’s end

Bahamians will have cheaper and reliable electricity by the end of this year, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister pledged yesterday.

“I expect that by the end of the year, we are going to have reliable generation, and I expect that prices will start to go down,” he said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.

He added, “We have some challenges, and we’ve had these challenges from before you were born.

“Those generators that we have, they’re older than both of you. So we’re trying to do something better. We’re trying to make a difference for your generation and for your children.

“And so there are challenges that we face now, but the thing about it is those challenges are going to be short-lived.

“At the end of this period of time, you’re going to have reliable generation, and we are not going to have to rely on diesel, which is an expensive fuel…we can rely on [liquified natural gas] LNG, which is a lot less expensive, and we can see the bills go down as our reliability increases.”

Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Public Relations Director Quincy Parker said last week that the corporation does not have sufficient generation to the meet the current summer demand on New Providence, and has had to conduct load shedding as a result.

The power company has historically struggled to keep up with an increased demand for electricity on New Providence during summer months.

Two of BPL’s larger generators were rendered inoperable last year after several fires caused significant damage at the company’s Clifton Pier plant, reducing its generation capacity.

The corporation also said that scheduled maintenance as well as unexpected challenges at both the Clifton and Blue Hills power stations contributed to the most recent power outages.

BPL announced in March that Finnish technology group Wartsila will install a new 132-megawatt engine power plant at a cost of $95 million to increase the generation capacity on New Providence.

The engines arrived last week, but the plant will not be in use until the end of summer.

The new generators will also be able to burn LNG, which BPL has said will be introduced in 2021.

A memorandum of understanding was signed with Shell Gas and Power Development B.V., establishing the company as the project developer for the gas-to-power project, which will include the development of marine infrastructure to receive LNG, a gas pipeline to bring gas to shore, an onshore LNG regasification terminal and a new gas-fire 220-plus megawatt power plant.

Rachel Knowles

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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