Cabinet approves purchase of 30-megawatt engine for BPL

As New Providence continues to endure hours of daily load shedding, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said yesterday Cabinet has approved the purchase of a 30-megawatt general electric engine for Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

“As you know, on December 15 we’re going to have the Wartsila engines up online, which is going to bring 132-megawatts of power in place,” Bannister said.

“Additionally, the government is investing in another general electric engine which is going to bring 30-megawatts of power in…

“We expect that having that with regards to our conditions we may get 25-megawatts out of that, but it’s a 30-megawatt engine.

“That means that we’re going to have a whole lot more flexibility to provide the kind of power that is needed on a regular basis for the first time in the last 20 years in New Providence.”

The minister said the new engine is slated for BPL’s Blue Hills Power Station.

Bannister did not provide a cost of the new engine. He said the government is still “finalizing” that.

However, The Nassau Guardian understands it will cost roughly $25 million.

Asked when the engine is expected to be in place, Bannister said, “Once [the Ministry of] Finance provides the funding, I anticipate that within 30 days the general electric engine will be delivered.

“…I heard a talk show and they thought it was very simple to hook up a generator like you’re doing something in the house.

“When you’re hooking up a generator, it does take some time. It does take some expertise and BPL is going to make sure that it’s done properly so that it all works out properly unlike the challenges that we have now.”

Since early June, BPL has been load shedding across New Providence due to a 40-megawatt generation shortfall.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has called the situation a “crisis”, although he has clarified that it is not an energy crisis, but rather a crisis for the people forced to deal with the outages.

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest declared that the government will spare no finances to find a short-term solution to the now months-long load shedding exercise that is plaguing residents on New Providence.

“The whole BPL matter has become obviously quite a concern for the government as it is an inconvenience for the people,” Turnquest said at the time.

“We recognize this is a significant issue and we must get on top of it and so…no finances will be spared if there is a solution that can be brought in the short term.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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