The Grand Bahamas Power Company has commissioned its US$80 million 52 megawatt power plant with government urging the owners of the company to support plans to significantly reduce the cost of electricity on Grand Bahama Island.
Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr Michael Darville said he is convinced that the high cost of electricity is hindering the expansion of the industrial sector and the attraction of potential investors to the island, one of many that form The Bahamas.
"I am also convinced that the use of alternative forms of energy will bring real change to the cost of electricity and open new doors for the industrial sector to grow, thus attracting many foreign and domestic investors to Grand Bahama in the areas of light manufacturing, pharmaceutical industry and food processing. This will create thousands of sustainable jobs for Grand Bahamians," Darville said.
"Therefore, I would like to urge the executives of Emera to partner with the government to determine the protocol involved with utilising alternative forms of energy and the feasibility of its use at your establishment," he added.
Darville said that while the government appreciates Emera's "mammoth investment in power generation on Grand Bahama, we would like you to assist us in ensuring that Grand Bahama sees a significant decrease in the price of electricity, which will mutually benefit all stakeholders, including your company."
He said the Perry Christie government was in the process of securing a number of investment projects that would undoubtedly revitalise the economy of Grand Bahama.
"However, in order to see many of these projects materialise, I am convinced that we need to think outside of the box and work together to determine the best means for ultimately reducing the high cost of electricity," Darville emphasised.
"The community, small businesses, the industrial and tourism sectors are all crying out for relief. Therefore, we must work together to find short and long-term solutions to this very challenging problem," Darville added.
Darville acknowledged that over the past few years, the cost of oil has escalated throughout the world, and that consequently, countries like The Bahamas whose energy sector is highly dependent upon the use of fossil fuels are feeling the negative effects.
He said it was the government's position to move away from complete dependency on fossil fuels and begin exploring the use of compressed natural gas or LNG for power generation in order to lower the cost of energy.
"The government recognises that it is imperative to develop new policies in order to reduce costs and currently we are taking many steps to do so. For this reason, we have established a National Energy Policy that will carry the country to 2030," Darville said.