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20-Year Energy Policy Outlined

Environment and Housing Minister Kendred Dorsett on Monday released the Bahamas National Energy Policy 2013-2033 a document which serves as the road plan to securing the energy future of The Bahamas.

Minister Dorsett said recognising the critical need for reform within the energy sector of The Bahamas, the government has set out to effect transformation through legislation and policy changes.

“In August of 2013, Prime Minister Perry Christie, released a document on behalf of the government, stating the case for energy sector reform with several key objectives. All of which when achieved would lead to a, modern, diversified and efficient energy sector, providing Bahamians with affordable energy supplies and long term energy security towards enhancing international competitiveness and sustainable prosperity.’

“The document also foreshadowed, at the time, the realignment of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), which is key to real reform within the sector. In the past two years, in the furtherance of our objective to change the energy sector, this administration has established an Energy Task Force which was charged with advising on solutions to reducing the high cost of electricity. We eliminated the excise tax on fuel used by BEC in the 2013-2014 budget.

“We eliminated tariffs on inverters for solar panels and LED appliances to ensure that more our citizens would be able to afford these energy saving devices. With the assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the government was also able to advance two pilot projects devised to collect data on renewable energy technologies. The first project provided for the installation of solar water heaters and the second project for the installation of photovoltaic systems in Bahamian homes.

The minister added that The Bahamas National Energy Policy 2013-2033 is a document which serves as the road plan to securing the energy future of The Bahamas, presenting the government’s vision and goals for a reformed energy sector after consultation with industry stakeholders.

The four goals covered in the policy are to ensure that Bahamians will become well aware of the importance of energy conservation, use energy wisely and continuously pursue opportunities for improving energy efficiencies with key economic sectors embracing eco-efficiency; ensuring that The Bahamas will have a modern energy infrastructure that enhances energy generation capacity and ensures that energy supplies are safely, reliably, and affordably transported to homes, communities and the productive sectors on a sustainable basis; ensuring that The Bahamas will be a world leader in the development and implementation of sustainable energy opportunities and continuously pursues a diverse range of well- researched and regulated, environmentally sensitive and sustainable energy programmes, built upon geographical, climatic and traditional economic strengths and ensuring that The Bahamas will have a dynamic and appropriate governance, institutional, legal and regulatory framework advancing future developments in the energy sector underpinned by high levels of consultation, citizen participation and public-private sector partnerships.

“This document provides the country with a guide to total energy reform by the year 2033 through strategic steps such as fuel diversification, infrastructure modernisation, renewable energy source development, conservation and efficiency. It also includes a table for target evaluation and monitoring,” Minister Dorsett said.

“As it states in the policy, ‘to ensure that the goals of the policy are achieved, the government in consultation with the private sector and civil society will develop three year action plans that will enable the development of key actions to support the strategies articulated in the policy document. These plans will provide detailed information on specific actions to be undertaken, the implementing agencies or stakeholders, time lines and costs.’”

In conjunction with the release of this policy document, Cabinet has also approved the framework for the Residential Energy Self Generation (RESG) and Renewable Energy Power Purchase/Inter- connection agreements prepared by BEC.

“The Electricity Act will be amended in short order to enable the government to advance the programme which will provide a framework for residential and certain commercial customers with renewable energy generation capabilities sited on their respective properties for serving their own electricity requirement to connect to the grid,” he added. “The applicable renewable energy technologies will be wind turbines or solar photovoltaic power sources. BEC will reserve the right to limit the number of services per individual, entity or classification.”

Minister Dorsett and Prime Minister Christie left the country yesterday as part of a delegation representing The Bahamas at the United Nations climate change summit being held in New York.

According to a statement released by the UN on its website, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has “invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to Climate Summit to galvanise and catalyse climate action.
The prime minister is expected to address the general assembly today.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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