‘As Much Power As You Can Hope For’

A $500 million alternative energy project pledged that its sea turbines could “generate as much power as this country could ever hope for”, and at rates 50 per cent below the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) existing tariffs.

Nathaniel Edgecombe, president and chief executive of American Middle East Engineers (AMEE International), said his proposed joint venture with a UK-based renewable energy provider could ultimately realise between $500-$600 million in annual cost savings for the Bahamas.

This, he explained, would be derived from the project’s use of tidal/current power to generate electricity through turbines located on the ocean bed, thereby totally eliminating BEC’s existing $300-$400 million annual fuel import bill.

Apart from meeting the Bahamas’ immediate need for an additional 100 Mega Watts (MW) of generation capacity, and another 50-100 MW for the Family Islands, Mr Edgecombe said the project could ultimately be ‘scaled up’ to produce 400 MW.

This would provide 100 per cent coverage for the Bahamas’ short and medium-term energy needs, he added, telling Tribune Business: “The initial annual savings would be a minimum $400 million.”

Adding that these savings could eventually rise to $500-$600 million, Mr Edgecombe described these estimates as “very much on the conservative side”.

“Right now, they [BEC] are shelling out between $30-$40 million a month for fuel,” he told Tribune Business. “On that side alone, you’re looking at potentially $480 million [in savings].

“They would also not have to spend at least another $100 million in terms of expensive, mechanical parts to service the old, outdated fossil fuel engines. The labour costs attached to that also run into the millions of dollars.”

By Neil Hartnell
Tribune Business Editor

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