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Bahamas PM moving ahead with energy legislation

NASSAU — In a move which sees him setting an “even more proactive” schedule for energy sector reform than was proposed in the recently concluded National Energy Task Force report, the prime minister has stated that the government will bring energy sector reforming legislation to Parliament before the end of the year.

Describing Prime Minister Perry Christie’s comments in Parliament as having “laid down the gauntlet” for the public service to prepare the groundwork in time for the legislation to move forward as planned, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works Renward Wells said the plan is to have legislation in place which would allow residential and commercial customers to install renewable energy systems in their buildings and to supply additional power to the national grid.

Such a move has long been seen as a critical component of shifting The Bahamas towards a greater reliance on renewable energy, given that it would in theory remove the need for those installing renewable electricity generation in their homes or businesses to include storage batteries in their systems, which are considered the most costly parts of a renewable energy system.

Nonetheless, a recently concluded National Energy Task Force report has revealed that the addition of renewable energy to the power generation mix must be done in a “phased”‚way that protects the integrity of the already existing infrastructure, said Wells, chairman of the NETF.

This fossil-fuel fired system will continue to be needed as a back up for those who shift to renewables, and as a primary source of power for those who do not have the means to install their own renewable systems.

As such, a target of 30 or 40 per cent of generation from renewables by 2030 is also a “maximum” as well as an aspiration, suggested Wells.

Wells said that two critical issues remain outstanding and to be addressed both by the legislation and by further studies that would complement it:‚Whether net metering or net billing will be pursued via the law change, and how quickly renewable energy will be added to the grid.

Net metering allows individuals simply to install a renewable energy system and feed electricity on and off the grid as needed — adding energy when they overproduce, and taking it from the traditional generation when they do not have enough renewable power. (Nassau Guardian)

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