Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis on Friday called for hotels and other businesses in The Bahamas to go green.
Speaking at an annual general meeting of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, Minnis said, “The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) will try to stop us because they don’t want us come off the grid, but the time has come when hotels and other establishments must come off the grid. That is the only way you will force efficiency in BEC.”
He added: “We must transition as quickly as possible to renewable energy and to solar energy in particular.”
In January, Minnis said his administration will partner with various stakeholders and professionals to “embark upon an ambitious plan to significantly increase the use of solar energy in The Bahamas” before the end of its term.
On Friday, he said the government will “do everything that we can to reduce energy costs not just for [the tourism] sector but for all residents and businesses in The Bahamas”.
Electricity bills have spiked in recent months. BPL officials say this is due to higher oil prices leading to an increase in the fuel surcharge. They also said a series of fires at the power plant at Clifton would drive prices up.
The average residential light bill in The Bahamas increased by 45 percent between October 2017 and October 2018, according to data provided by Bahamas Power and Light, a subsidiary of BEC.
Minnis said the government will insist that residents of new subdivisions “have at least a minimum amount of solar panels that will take certain segments away from their building sector, especially the heaters”.
“We think that would be a great plus moving forward,” he said.
“Businesses, I don’t see why they should not be encouraged to move toward green energy if we want to do our part in terms of carbon emission.”
He continued, “Obviously, there would be a concern. There would be a concern that ‘oh, you’re taking so much revenue away from the power stations’; but let’s be efficient. Let’s be efficient. If we’re efficient, then that may not have the great impact that you expect.”
Minnis said individuals who are partially reliant on electricity and partially reliant on solar energy would have to pay a base fee to a power station “to ensure the stability for everyone”.