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August 25, 2009

Comments

Kristin Williams

Friends of the Environment does not feel that Wilson City is a suitable location for the BEC power plant and would propose that the site be relocated to Snake Cay. Although Snake Cay is not ideal, it would be a more appropriate area for the following reasons:

1. The BEC power plant, along with the proposed use of Bunker C fuel, will have a negative environmental impact on the surrounding marine and terrestrial environment. The Bight of Old Robinson is crucial juvenile habitat and research has shown it to be one of the most bio-diverse areas in Abaco. This bio-diversity and juvenile habitat is crucial to maintaining Abaco's tourism-based economy.

2. Snake Cay is the closest deep water port to Marsh Harbour and will most likely be further industrialized in the future. We realize that certain coastal areas must be sacrificed for public need, but feel that it would be
more beneficial to protect one area rather than have both the Bight of Old Robinson, which could be negatively effected by a power plant at Wilson City, and Snake Cay used for industrial purposes.

3. Based on The Bight of Old Robinson's importance to biological conservation, FRIENDS has submitted a proposal to the Bahamas National Trust to have the area designated as part of a coastal national park, along
with the creeks and coastal area south of Snake Cay.

4. The coastal area of Wilson City is subject to ocean swells, potentially making the transfer of fuel difficult. Snake Cay is less susceptible to such strong swells.

FRIENDS also feels strongly that alternative sources of fuel should be considered. Bunker C has been outlawed in many countries solely for its environmental impact. We feel that the use of Bunker C fuel will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the surrounding area regardless of where the power plant is located.

C.Lowe

If the political miscreants had any forsight at all, we wouldn't be having a Bunker fuel discussion, we would be developing LNG fuel useage, first in G.B. followed by Abaco,possibly pipelined, then shipped to Nassau ect.
Still a fossil fuel, but the cleanest one.
Solar and Wind for the more remote islands, with LNG backup ect.
Ho hum, typical fiasco.

Michel Saint-Mars

It will be a disaster. I don't live on the islands, but to my friends and acquaintences there I would recommend hiring a lawyer to halt the project on environmental grounds until a real coalition of Bahamian activists can be assembled to demand a relocation. If the government can be convinced that tourism will be damaged they may listen.

Scott Dixon

There are deployed solar solutions that would provide the power needed in a 165 acre footprint. 100 was already set aside which could provide 29 megawatts and would be a good start.

larry smith

Please point them out to us.

Dwayne

Is $2M per Mega Watt a reasonable cost for electric plant? What is the cost per Mega comparisons of Wind vs solar vs bunker C?

All over the world countries are trying to reduce carbon footprints and we are busy increasing ours...

Its better in the Bahamas (i.e. better are poluting)...

Scott Dixon

Larry: What is the symbiotic relationship, if any, between BEC and the government? I can put together a package on solar and also provide a cost comparison answer to Dwayne, but it's academic if the project is already commissioned, or there is some other motivator for the Bahamas to pursue that particular deployment.

larry smith

BEC is a state corporation - with a legal monopoly on 85% of power production in the country.

It is just beginning to investigate the integration of renewable energy into the grid, with the help of the Inter American Development Bank. The German engineering firm, Fichtner, has just been hired to guide this process.

I would still be interested in reviewing the deployed solar solutions you mentioned.

Scott Dixon

First, I'm not maintaining these are easy, inexpensive solutions, but they are examples of projects in operation today and one under construction. I am a developer and can speak to the two most important issues; funding for the project(s) and subsequently a long term Power Purchase Agreement.

The first one I can take care of, the second is up to BEC/Bahamian Governement....

Operational:

Solar One in Nevada – 69 MW.

Sierra Sun Tower California – 5MW

PS-10 Spain – 11MW

HCPV system Nevada – 25MW

ISCC plant Morocco – 20MW

Under Construction:

Fluor Wins Texas – 46 MW

Erasmus Folly

The Bahamian government should not be building a heavy fuel power plant in Abaco in 2009. Just because their lazy a#%#s didn't do what they should have been doing in the 90's on renewable energy, doesn't mean that we have to perpetuate that mistake. Alternative fuels would be wonderful for Abaco, but if that isn't possible, at the very least, approve the LNG facility and get us off trucking heavy fuels through our pristine waters. What is wrong with these people? It doesn't just make environmental sense, it makes BUSINESS sense, ie dollars and cents! Renewable energy in this country would save our people and our government, literally, millions upon millions of dollars in foreign reserves. We could break the strangle hold of the oil cartels and we could be a world leader in stopping climate change - our very existence is dependent on it, since we are so low to the sea! These politicians care about money now and for themselves, they aren't looking at the future, they aren't THINKING and they certainly don't seem to care about the environment!

Shame on them!

Larry, as always, great article. Your facts on these things are very, very useful. I just wish there was more popular rage about the environment, but I guess our people are too busy eating KFC and throwing the box on the ground...

Cheers!

larry smith

Scott, see www.bahamasecoforum.com

blue-bee

Just a few points to think about. First of all solar and wind are not an option unless you want to double your monthly power bills witch I think we all agree is not posable. Second of all the only other site is Snake cay witch can not handle larger tankers do to water draft and the tankers will still have to pass through the Park at Sandy Cay. Thirdly there is all this take about the bad things about this fuel well snake cay is closer to the more populated town and islands. And lastly the ground for this plant was cleared a year ago with the plan for bunker c. I find it very unlikely that now with the millions of dollars spent and the engines already on the way that there can be anything done about it now. If it is stopped what will we do for power with the money borrowed and spent already on this.

larry smith

You are right about it being too late to do anything about the site choice. But that only points up the main issue in all this - which is transparency, or lack of it.

How can a state agency spend $100 million of public funds without any accountability whatsoever? Won't even answer basic questions until forced.

That lack of transparency will carry over to the operation of this plant if we let it - and based on BECs track record, as outlincd in this article, we know what that will mean.

The objective now should be to have full transparancy going forward with independent third party monitoring and audits of the plant - with Friends of the Environment involved.

larry smith

Bunker C at Wilson City, Abaco:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owP9ufcP8f0

Andrew Curry

Great article Larry. The ironic part is that Minister Phenton Neymour has a degree in environmental engineering. This by the way is the application of science and engineering priciples to IMPROVE the environment (air, water or land resources )
Once again it all boils down to being involved. If we choose to give away our power to people who dont live in Abaco and dont care about Abaco then how can we complain ? I promise you if 10,000 pissed of Abaconians got involved this would be done the way WE wanted it done . So take the easy way out and let them distroy you home or get involved. Its called democracy. We are ultimatley responsible for what we get . We can blame the powers that be or we can take them on.

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