by Larry Smith
A special report by a top US consulting firm says the Bahamas has "abundant untapped resources" to develop a strong renewable energy infrastructure that can cut oil imports, make more capital available for investment and help maintain our leading edge in regional tourism.
The report says solar electricity can be produced here at a cost similar to existing oil-fired generation. Even assuming no government support, the cost per kilowatt hour from rooftop photovoltaic panels would average only 15 cents compared to retail electricity prices of 25 cents a kilowatt that are currently being charged to most Bahamian consumers.
The report was issued by Haley & Aldrich - a New England-based environmental engineering consultancy founded in 1957. According to Vice President Doug Cotton, the firm is working with clients in the Bahamas "who could benefit from the price stability, energy security, and secondary benefits that would be created by widespread adoption of renewable energy production.
"Our interest in helping to promote renewable energy is related to the work we are doing for one of the largest resort development projects on New Providence, and because we are working with some renewable energy companies who have an interest in coming to the Bahamas should there be changes to the present regulatory regime."