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August 01, 2007

Comments

ryan carroll

Great article! I would love to be able to produce my own
electricity and put the excess back into the power grid. I didn't know
it was illegal. It should be encouraged.

As you mentioned, equipment
brought in should be duty free andIknow many of us would jump at the
chance to substantially reduce our power bills.

Many people don't
realize the savings that could be had by changing the way we do things right now. For instance:

1. Replace all bulbs with flouescents.
2.Turn AC thermostat up for a big saving if you have it lower than 75.
3. turn water heater to lowest setting; about 110 degrees.
4. Drive at speed limit or slower to save on gas.
5. Insulate attic in home.
6. Replace single plane windows with double glazed ones.

These are just a few ideas to affect our overall consumption. Many others are out there and can be found with a little research. I think the government should take a more active role in educating consumers by providing an office or department with one or two qualified people trained in the area of energy efficiency, conservation and especially
alternative energy concepts with a view to help us move more over to
solar, wind, etc.

Thank you again for writing your great article. I will be contacting Neko Grant, my parliamentary rep. to lobby him and others for action in this worthy cause.

larry smith

Thanks.

I investigated solar for my little 9-person office in Nassau - 30k wouldn't cover it 100%, but even so I might have been tempted with a little incentive and if it wasn't illegal.

Solar panels are duty free and solar water heaters are cost-effective (you can recover the cost in a couple of years), but the associated equipment, such as tanks and fittings, is not. And there are only one or two companies offering this service. There are also other factors like roof installations causing leaks and affecting insurance policies.

Insulating roofs is a no-brainer. I dropped my hurricane insurance two years ago and invested in an acry-tech coating (http://www.acrytech.com), which protects shingles, stops leaks and also insulates. My house is several degrees cooler now.

I also changed all my lightbulbs months ago.

And yes, we all need to lobby harder.

thinsoldier

1. Replace all bulbs with flouescents.

Did that. Made no difference...or BEC is a bunch of lying bastards who overcharge the hell out of me.

Going to switch to LED this year and see if it makes a difference.

http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2006/12/episode_69_22000_foot_fall_lig.html
Scroll down to "lights on or off"

http://www.ccrane.com/lights/led-light-bulbs/index.aspx

thinsoldier

you may also enjoy this video about bio-diesel

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5254821858533807129

Jason Hayman

I simply cannot understand why the Government of The Bahamas is missing the plot so badly. If they don't start getting their act together they are going to miss some huge opportunities and in the not-so-distant future they may not have anything to govern, and will have been implicit in a great tragedy.

See James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies's article in the New Scientist last week on sea level rise: http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/mg19526141.600-huge-sea-level-rises-are-coming--unless-we-act-now.html

Even if you don't subscribe to the idea of global warming or can't bring yourself to comprehend something that doesn't have an immediate impact on your life, you should consider the impact on your wallet that the latest findings of the IEA will have. Very simply put, even if we are not running out of oil, we can't bring enough production online over the next 10 years to keep up with growing demand. This will drive oil prices sky high and will affect tourism and its profitably in a big way.

Getting away from all the doom and gloom, The Bahamas is in a very enviable position that it is currently wasting. Because of its location and low population density, it is capable of easily supplying all of its energy demands through renewable energy. In fact it could even become an energy exporter, as Florida's energy demand is growing consistently and strongly. This could have a huge impact on the diversity of income for the country but apparently the politicians never bothered learning a bit of basic economics and don't understand the economic impact of importing all the country's energy.

They also clearly don't understand the concept of perverse incentives.

Having been living out of The Bahamas for the past few years and being involved in evaluating renewable energy technology policies in the UK and now being directly involved in developing marine renewable energy technologies, I have watched the situation in The Bahamas with interest and growing dismay.

Anyone who can suggest a way of getting the politician's attention and letting them know that they are sitting on a gold mine capable of transforming their country's economy, as well as placing them in a position from which they can effectively influence other nations' policies by being a leader for once, let me know. I would be more than happy to help in any way that I can.

Caius St George

Just a couple of thoughts:-

With regard to solar energy how do we get BEC to allow "net metering" ie surplus power from domestic solar panel production to feed back into the grid? I'm about to equip my home with solar panels and if I can net meter then I don't have to buy batteries as a storage medium. I use the grid to store for my excess power production and buy back the power I gave them during the day. Again short sightedness as this would be a benefit for BEC ie less plant reqd but of course they can't see it that way I am sure.

Water and reverse osmosis. At what cost will this be produced in the future? I think they've dug themselves a hole and shot themselves in the foot, cost of oil increase cost of water increase etc: As opposed to mandating with new construction water tanks under the floor! As was done in days gone by and is done on some out islands. I have just completed my new home in Coral Harbour and for just a few thousand dollars more have a 22,000 gallon tank under my living room and raised my home over 3 feet & I don't need city water any more and don't use it. In fact the valve is turned off but I am still compelled to pay the minimum charge every month!!!!

Enjoy most of your articles! Keep it up

larry smith

BEC is obviously not set up for net metering because co-generation is illegal. I would be interested in reviewing your communications with them on this subject.

I am told that the current water barging system will be discontinued within two years when all of NPs water will be produced by RO plants. We are almost at that stage now.

The cost/1000 gallons for barged water is higher than the price of RO water, but the main problem has been reliability because of weather conditions, and water quality is not as good as RO. especially after storm surges or long dry spells.

Requiring rainwater tanks would help to reduce demand but would not solve the problem.

Caius St George

There is a school or camp that net meters in south Eleuthera so if they can do it why can't the rest of us?

larry smith

The Island School at Cape Eleuthera (www.islandschool.org) is experimenting with wind and solar power, and they are affiliated with a Nassau outfit to install solar water heaters. They are a research operation and have approval to supply some electricity to the area. In any event, I don't think the government would be foolish enough to prosecute a homeowner.

larry smith

I might add that the previous minister of the previous government refused to give me a copy of the IADB roadmap - even though he told me it was supposed to form the basis of a public consultation. The present minister of the present government kindly obliged, so I have started the process of public consultation for them.

dadon589

Good article. The money govt./BEC have probably spentclose to a billion dollars over the past 20 years. Had we invested in alternative energy sources over the same period, we would have been 100% oil-free by now.

Noel Rodman

Your right Larry, too bad about the law and Net Metering in the Bahamas. Hopefully the laws will change and allow everyone to install wind/solar systems to offset the high cost of Bahamian power. Without this small change in the law, no one will receive the full benefit of these power systems, but with the cost of electricity going up at the speed it is, it still will be cost effective to install. Noel Rodman, Sandyport, Nassau, Bahamas

Andrew Curry

It seems that the question is, how do we get Government on board ? Here in Abaco duing the summer it is not uncommon for the power to be off every day. For the average home 60% of energy cost come from air conditioning and hot water . If we used a minimum 15 SEER A/C unit , replace traditional hot water units with on- demand or solar and the big one , build our homes with cool roofs , this would greatly effect energy demand. In Bermuda they do a good job with cool roofs . They are all white . They also mandate car sizes and quantities. The Bahamas Government is not proactive so,can we get enough people to make this happen and who wants to lead the way ?

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