Minnis says Abaco will get solar grid

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said that microgrids will be set up on Abaco as he stressed the urgency of implementing solar power across the archipelago to better recover from hurricanes.

During an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes”, which aired last night, Minnis said although The Bahamas does not contribute to climate change as much as First World countries do, it still has “a responsibility”. 

“The power, we had to make determination to set up microgrids,” he said.

He added, “First World nations, and this is what I said at the UN (United Nations), I said First World nations make the greatest contribution to climate change.

“They are the ones responsible for the changes that we see, the increase in velocity and ferocity of the hurricanes and the different, and the changes, typhoons, that we see today.

“But we’re the innocent victim; we’re the ones that are being impacted by what you’ve created.”

When asked if this emphasizes the importance of the country changing to renewable energy, Minnis added, “It is, because even though our contribution to climate change is minimal, it’s minuscule, to compare with First World nations, but we still have a responsibility.”

Six months after Category 5 Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc on Abaco and Grand Bahama, many areas on Abaco remain without power.

According to the interview, an NGO called the Rocky Mountain Institute has plans to install a 15-acre solar microgrid between the government office and clinic in Marsh Harbour, although the project will take months.

However, Minnis said the country needs help to be able to afford the needed solar power solutions.

“We cannot afford it. We recognized from day one that we cannot do it alone,” he said.

When asked if he believes that the U.S. and European countries should contribute to an insurance fund to help The Bahamas better recover from storms, Minnis said: “Absolutely,” but added that “it’s an ongoing discussion”.

Pointing to Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) ongoing work to install a solar grid on Ragged Island, which was brutalized by Hurricane Irma in 2017, Minnis said: “After Ragged Island was devastated, I made a statement, ‘Let us show the world what can be done.’

“We may be small, but we can set an example to the world.”

He told CBS that after the solar grid on Ragged Island has been completed, government can then “expand it”.

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