Independent power producers selected to lead solar expansion

Tue, Jun 11th 2024, 04:05 AM

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government revealed yesterday that it has selected Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to spearhead the development of utility-scale solar power in the Family Islands and expand solar projects on New Providence.

In December 2023, The Bahamas Government and Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) launched a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Family Island New Energy Generation via Micro-Grids, Clean Fuel, and Renewables.

During an announcement at the Office of the Prime Minister regarding the government's energy reform plans, Energy and Transport Minister JoBeth Coleby Davis emphasized that the goal of the RFPs is to foster greater energy independence across all islands, leveraging clean fuel and renewables. Interested parties were invited to submit bids for renewable energy-based IPP projects aimed at enhancing resource management, bolstering energy storage capacity, enabling new generation capabilities, and advancing sustainability efforts across multiple systems in Abaco, Andros, Bimini, Eleuthera, Exuma, Long Island, San Salvador, and The Berry Islands. A thorough evaluation process, conducted by an Evaluation Committee with extensive experience in the public service, energy, and legal sectors, meticulously reviewed and scored all proposals.

The recommended IPPs for specific islands are as follows: Verdant and Consus for Abaco and Eleuthera, Providence Advisors for Andros, INTI Corporation and Osprey Construction for Exuma, and Wilkem Technologies and Roswall Incorporation for Long Island, San Salvador, and The Berry Islands. Negotiations for power purchase agreements are underway.

"Each island presents unique energy requirements and geographical constraints, necessitating tailor-made energy solutions. To ensure the most suitable approach, the technical specifications of each island were thoroughly reviewed for applicability. Design criteria have been finalized, agreements have been selected, and both the microgrid controller and communication profile have been determined. Equipment with long lead times in the supply chain has been identified, and specifications have been submitted to respective manufacturers. We anticipate groundbreaking to commence by the end of 2024," remarked Coleby-Davis.

Regarding the expansion of solar projects on New Providence, Coleby-Davis highlighted that the RFP invited independent power producers to integrate additional renewable energy options into the national grid.

"This initiative presents a green energy solution by augmenting existing battery energy storage while incorporating renewable energy into the overall energy mix. Approximately 70 MW of solar power and 35 MW of battery energy storage systems will be integrated into the existing grid, with 25 MW of solar energy paired with a 25 MWh battery energy storage system at the Blue Hills Power Station.

The recommended independent power producers for New Providence are Eco Energy, INTI, and Compass, with negotiations for Power Purchase Agreements currently in progress.

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