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*New* Energy Policy And Framework 2014
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Posted by:Oct 1st 2014, 04:57:21 pm
Fig Tree News TeamNational Energy Policy & Grid Tie In Framework
Authored by: The Hon. Kenred Dorsett
Source: Ministry of the Environment and Housing
Date: September 22, 2014

Recognizing the critical need for reform within the energy sector of The Bahamas, the government has set about effecting transformation through legislation and policy changes. This position is in keeping with our commitment in the Charter for Governance, beginning at page 37, to reduce the cost of electricity and to address the use of alternative energy sources and increasing efficiencies at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation.

In August of 2013, Prime Minister Christie, released a document on behalf of the government, stating the case for energy sector reform with several key objectives. All of which when achieved would lead to a, “modern, diversified and efficient energy sector, providing Bahamians with affordable energy supplies and long term energy security towards enhancing international competitiveness and sustainable prosperity.” The document also foreshadowed, at the time, the realignment of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), which is key to real reform within the sector.

In the past two years, in the furtherance of our objective to change the energy sector, this administration has established an Energy Task Force which was charged with advising on solutions to reducing the high cost of electricity. We eliminated the excise tax on fuel used by BEC in the 2013-2014 budget. We eliminated tariffs on inverters for solar panels and LED appliances to ensure that more our citizens would be able to afford these energy saving devices. With the assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the government was also able to advance two pilot projects devised to collect data on renewable energy technologies. The first project provided for the installation of solar water heaters and the second project for the installation of photovoltaic systems in Bahamian homes.

The Bahamas National Energy Policy 2013-2033 is a document which serves as the road plan to securing the energy future of The Bahamas. It presents the Government's vision and goals for a reformed energy sector after consultation with industry stakeholders. The four goals covered in the policy are:

Goal 1: Bahamians will become well aware of the importance of energy conservation, use energy wisely and continuously pursue opportunities for improving energy efficiencies, with key economic sectors embracing eco-efficiency.

Goal 2: The Bahamas will have a modern energy infrastructure that enhances energy generation capacity and ensures that energy supplies are safely, reliably, and affordably transported to homes, communities and the productive sectors on a sustainable basis.

Goal 3: The Bahamas will be a world leader in the development and implementation of sustainable energy opportunities and continuously pursues a diverse range of well-researched and regulated, environmentally sensitive and sustainable energy programmes, built upon our geographical, climatic and traditional economic strengths.

Goal 4: The Bahamas will have a dynamic and appropriate governance, institutional, legal and regulatory framework advancing future developments in the energy sector underpinned by high levels of consultation, citizen participation and public-private sector partnerships

This document provides the country with a guide to total energy reform by the year 2033 through strategic steps such as fuel diversification, infrastructure modernization, renewable energy source development, conservation and efficiency. It also includes a table for target evaluation and monitoring. As it states in the policy, “To ensure that the goals of the policy are achieved, the Government in consultation with the private sector and civil society will develop 3 year action plans that will enable the development of key actions to support the strategies articulated in the policy document. These plans will provide detailed information on specific actions to be undertaken, the implementing agencies or stakeholders, time lines and costs.”

In conjunction with the release of this policy document, Cabinet has also approved the framework for the Residential Energy Self Generation (RESG) and Renewable Energy Power Purchase/Inter-connection agreements prepared by BEC. The Electricity Act will be amended in short order to enable the government to advance the programme which will be structured as follows:

The RESG programme will provide a framework for residential and certain commercial customers with renewable energy generation capabilities sited on their respective properties for serving their own electricity requirement to connect to the grid. The applicable renewable energy technologies will be wind turbines or solar photovoltaic power sources. BEC will reserve the right to limit the number of services per individual, entity or classification.

The following conditions will be observed in respect to the RESG programme:
(a) New Providence
Residential Renewable Energy Self Generator system shall not supply greater than 5 kilowatts (kW) the grid.
Commercial RESG systems (limited to public buildings, including those owned by public corporations, public and private preparatory, primary, secondary and tertiary schools and buildings used by Approved Manufacturers under the Industries Encouragement Act) shall not supply greater than BEC's estimate of the customer's peak demand or 50kW, whichever is lesser, unless otherwise approved by BEC.

(b) Abaco, Eleuthera and Exuma
Residential Renewable Energy Generator systems shall not supply greater than 3 kilowatts (kW) to the grid.
Commercial RESG systems (limited to public buildings, including those owned by public corporations, public and private preparatory, primary, secondary and tertiary schools and buildings used by Approved Manufacturers under the Industries Encouragement Act) shall not supply greater than BEC's estimate of the customer's peak demand or 25kW, whichever is lesser, unless otherwise approved by BEC.

(c) Long Island, Bimini, San Salvador, North/Central/South Andros, Inagua, Cat Island, Great Harbour Cay, Black Point, and Staniel Cay (Exuma)
Residential Renewable Energy Self Generator systems shall not supply greater than 2 kilowatts (kW) to the grid.
Commercial RESG systems (limited to public buildings, including those owned by public corporations, public and private preparatory, primary, secondary and tertiary schools and buildings used by Approved Manufacturers under the Industries Encouragement Act) shall not supply greater than BEC's estimate of the customer's peak demand or 5kW, whichever is lesser, unless otherwise approved by BEC.

(d) All Other Family Islands
Residential Renewable Energy Self Generator systems shall not supply greater than 1 kilowatt (kW) to the grid.
Commercial RESG systems (limited to public buildings, including those owned by public corporations, public and private preparatory, primary, secondary an tertiary schools and buildings used by Approved Manufacturers under the Industries Encouragement Act) shall not supply greater than BEC's estimate of the customer's peak demand of 5kW, whichever is lesser, unless otherwise approved by BEC.

With respect to Grand Bahama, the Government intends to discuss this national initiative with the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the Grand Bahama Power Company with a view to obtaining their cooperation that Grand Bahamians can also take advantage of this new initiative.
BEC will offer the programme for a period of two years and at the end of the pilot programme, BEC and the Government will review the experiences and determine whether to continue offering the programme at the specified tariff.
BEC shall install meters capable of recording energy flows in both directions and will utilize a net billing methodology for billing purposes. BEC shall credit the RESG's account for all energy (kWh) up to the maximum threshold allowed that is supplied to the grid, based on BEC's applicable Fuel Adjustment Charge prevailing during the month the energy is supplied. At the end of each billing period, if the account is in debit after the renewable energy charges have been applied, the balance due will be billed and payable. If the account is in credit, the amount will be carried forward to the next billing period. Excess generated energy (kWh) within the allowable threshold will roll over form month to month until October of each year, at which time any energy credit will reset to zero. There will be no payment for excess energy generated by RESGs.
It is my hope that successive governments will adopt The National Energy Policy document and its tenets until reformation of the sector is fully achieved. For our part, this government is committed to continue our efforts to reform the energy sector of our country in full consultation with the Bahamian people and all sectors of society.

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