Baha Mar Power Needs Could Be Unsustainable

Friday 15th, April 2011 / 09:24 Published by

Electrical power demands at Baha Mar, once the development is fully operational, will exceed the total daily power demand of Abaco during the peak summer months.

Built on the Island of New Providence, where power is already insufficient, Baha Mar’s lust for electricity will increase current electrical production needs by just under 330 per cent, to a potential 30 Megawatts (MW) per day.  Abaco’s need during peak summer months is about 5 Megawatss per day.

Baha Mar’s senior vice-president of external and governmental affairs, Robert Sands, said he has been reasured by the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) that BEC can meet this demand using its present generation facilities.

Say what?!

BEC can not keep the power on now. How on earth will they be able to meet a demand that is over 300 times current capacity?

Baha Mar’s present facilities use an average of between 6-7 MW per day.

BEC chairman Michael Moss said that the present power generation capacity in New Providence is 340 MW. The island had a peak power demand last year of 240 MW.

Mr Sands did say that Baha mar was hoping to cut its power usage by 15 to 20 per cent through the use of  “cutting edge” technology known as deep water cooling, rather than conventional air conditioning systems.

While it is used in other locations around the globe, deep water cooling is a fairly new technology for the Bahamas. The process involves drawing water – from the ocean for example – to use as a “heat sink” to cool buildings.  The water is then re-released back into the ocean.

The new US terminal at the Lynden Pindling International Airport uses deep water cooling to help reduce energy consumption there.

Sand admits that there are some environmental issues that go along with deep water cooling. The warmed water that will be returned to the ocean will be at temperatures significantly above the water. Thermal pollution of coastal waters is a possibility.

Mr Sands insists that the system to be used by Baha Mar will be set-up and operated in accordance with “all the best environmental practices” in an effort to reduce overall energy consumption.

Another major challenge facing Baha Mar will be the limitations to absorb waste at the present Tonique Williams-Darling Highway landfill site. Sands said he hopes the new dump will be open by the time the resort is fully operational.

Providing the requisite amount of water and sewerage will be another area where challenges must be overcome.

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