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January 16, 2008

Comments

drew Roberts

"And he signaled a renewed effort to formulate an energy policy that will make it easier for Bahamian consumers to access alternative energy sources and more energy-efficient technologies."

1. All parts needed to install sorlar or wind powered generator SYSTEMS for personal* use are duty free and stamp tax free.

2. Any Bahamian who can take his/her home/business off grid and possibly be a net supplier to the grid gets exempted from property tax.

* personal use includes business use. it means use on the site where the generating is done.

Any think making such changes might kick start the move?

Better alternative ideas?

all the best,

drew

C.Lowe

I echo Drew, the parts of the system like charge regulators, inverters, and deep cell batteries must also be duty free, as eliminating the duty on wind mill generators and PV panels alone is only a reduction on half the install equipment costs.
Solar waterheaters also would reduce demand on the grid, but most Bahamians cannot handle the up front cost, even though a solar waterheater would pay for itself in two years.
Net metering for commercial property install is a must.
Residential can follow.
Oh, by the way, change legislation on the books that currently prohibits generating your own.

Bob Knaus

I hate to sound like a broken record... for the young, we used to have these things called LPs that you put in a "turntable" and if the tracks got worn they would play the same thing over & over... anyways the solution is empowered local government. Seriously. I've said this again and again.

Who knows the landfill problems the best? The locals, not the bureaucrats in Nassau. Who hires, and feeds, and helps, the Haitians? The locals, not the bureaucrats in Nassau. Who has the best ideas on how to solve development issues? The locals, not the bureaucrats in Nassau.

Forget the pie-in-the-sky dreams of solving Bahamian environmental problems by tweaking duty rates for solar and wind gadgets. That is SO colonial, SO soviet central planning, SO elitist. Devolve power to the locals. Trust the locals. This is where the future lies.

If you give the people the power to solve their own problems, they will.

larry smith

I am all for more devolution, but I am not sure it is a panacea for the problems discussed above - many of which are intractable precisely because of local involvement.

We need forward-thinking national policies that are effective and enforceable, as well as more local government.

Bob Knaus

I should clarify what I mean by empowered local government. This is local government that is freely and frequently elected; has designated sources of revenue that can be adjusted to need; has authority to set budgets and service levels within its jurisdiction; and can be overridden by the central government only for gross incompetence or malfeasance.

In short, local government with equal measures of authority and responsibility.

What we have today is toothless town planning committees, rubber stamp town councils, and editorials from Dave Ralph bemoaning the lack of competent citizens willing to serve. Well, why in the world would they want to, when they would have no power to get anything done?

So, yes, we have horrid examples of locals messing up the environment. But in my opinion that comes from too little local involvement, rather than too much.

drew Roberts

Bob,

the two things are not mutually exclusive as far as I see.

Just last night at dinner I suggested that one of the things needed to "fix" the problems in Nassau are to get us off this island.

I suggested that one approach to doing this would be to move parliament to Andros, Gran Bahama, or Abaco, preferably Andros or Freeport for different reasons.

Along with real local government which you call empowered local government.

In fact, we need local government for Nassau itself as well.

And as little of it as is reasonable from my perspective.

Making alternative energy "stuff" duty and even stamp tax free would still help though. (In my opinion.)

all the best,

drew

Dan Sitarz

The use of government incentives to spur renewable energy is a very cost-effective way to develop new energy sources. The rebate of any taxes or duties on the importation of parts for wind or solar energy systems is common sense. The additional rebate of property taxes for anyone able to generate sufficient energy to be off-grid is also a very cost-effective way to both spur energy efficient development and lower emissions in the Bahamas. The technology is available to allow any current and future development in the Out Islands to be wholly self-sufficient energy-wise with wind and solar energy. The up-front cost is higher per unit, but these costs can now be rolled over into mortgage products that provide for energy upgrades, and thus allow the user to pay for the higher initial costs over time. Any additional governmental support (such as the tax/duty rebates or, perhaps, actual subsidies) can only assist in the inevitable process of lessening the use of fossil-fuel based energy in the Bahamas. These islands are blessed with an abundance of renewable energy sources, both the trade winds and the sunshine, that can be valued in the billions of dollars. Governmental support to take advantage of these energy sources would be an excellent starting point. Thanks, Dan

Kimberly

Thank you, thank you, thank you ... can you stop by Briland the next time you're in the neighbourhood ;-)? Same dish, different day.

Tim Roberts

I would like to comment on one aspect of your article, having lived in Nassau and presently living in Abaco, I see a number of things that need to happen in order to effect change.
First of all, as previously stated, Empowered Local Government is needed; however, I would also suggest that these men be EDUCATED in their duties and responsibilities, fully realizing their mandate as public representatives of the people. Far too many representatives do not understand the functions their office demands, and what they are able or not able to do. I do know these people are by and large volunteers, however, since they desire a position that is for the service of their communities they ought to give the right amount of diligence to doing their job well.
Second, the problem I see here in Abaco comes from indifference and ignorance. We need to educate people on the value of preservation and help the masses understand that we need to plan for more than just jobs (money in our pockets) today, but try to have a vision for the future; one that is a sustainable future.
One of the biggest dangers to the environmental concerns of Abaco is that we have an island full of natural treasures that are ultimately going to be sold away to the interests of developers (foreign or local) who will in the end (rightly so) want to get something out of their investment. Often there will be outright disregard for the natural, historic and cultural environment of Abaco. If we want to see change we the people need to make it known. We need leaders who will be willing to inform the people and stand for them in the government –this is what is needed immediately. We need citizens are involved in ensuring the ‘transparency’ of the government in all things.
Also, creating incentives and concessions will only help the minority of Bahamians who are knowledgeable and that are legitimately concerned about the environment. It is a good idea, however, not a solution. Government at present rules what happens in this country, and until we get a better educated electorate that is not indifferent there will continue to be ‘cheap’ solutions to big problems. The biggest hurdle is the people themselves. If the majority doesn’t care, than why should the government?
On that note I petition as many as are able to create entities to educate, and groups that will relentlessly pursue the government on education reform. And, in the meantime stand and let your voice be heard as much as possible and hope more voices join.

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