Environment Officials Working With Agencies to Advance The Bahamas’ Renewable Energy Agenda

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Minister of Housing and the Environment the Hon. Kenred Dorsett speaks to the media during a break of a meeting of Ministry of the Environment officials with representatives from the Carbon War Room (CWR) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to progress the Government’s renewable energy agenda. (BIS photo/Patrick Hanna)

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Minister of Housing and the Environment the Hon. Kenred Dorsett said officials from the Ministry of the Environment are holding meetings with representatives from the Carbon War Room (CWR) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as the Government progresses with its renewable energy agenda.

During a working meeting with the CWR and IRENA, March 30, 2015, Minister Dorsett said the Government has committed not only to ensuring that the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Sciences Institute (BAMSI) becomes a green facility powered by solar energy, it has also committed to 11 Family Islands being provided with solar utilities. These islands include Eleuthera, Andros, Cat Island, Acklins, Bimini, Inagua, Crooked Island, Exuma and Long Island.

The Bahamas signed on to develop 20 MW of solar energy across the Family Islands, as part of the CWR’s Ten Island Challenge, a project backed by Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson.

A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the two to partner towards speeding up the nation’s shift towards renewable energy production and energy efficiency. “You would see that a concentrated focus on some of our southern islands has been factored in to ensure that we do not find ourselves focusing on our populated and more developed islands,” Minister Dorsett said.

As an outcome of its involvement in CWR’s Ten Island Challenge, The Bahamas will focus on several projects aimed at meeting their renewable energy goals. These include:

* Developing more than 20 MW of solar PV generation across the Family Islands;

* Bringing energy efficiency and solar solutions to Anatol Rodgers High School;

* Performing a nationwide LED retrofit for street lights;

* Implementing a thorough process designed to transition the Bahamas away from fossil fuels;

* Documenting best practices.

The CWR was launched in 2009 to accelerate “the adoption of business solutions that reduce carbon emissions at gigaton scale and advance the low-carbon economy.”

According to the Carbon War Room’s website, it wants to see “a world where over $1 trillion invested in climate change solutions is an annual occurrence, not a historic milestone.”

With respect to IRENA, Minister Dorsett said the Government is in discussions with the Agency about setting up consumer protection for the citizens of The Bahamas by knowing exactly what should be imported into the country and checking for standardisation in the marketplace.

The Minister said IRENA will also complete an examination of The Bahamas to determine where the country is in terms of its renewable energy readiness.

IRENA is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy.