Neil Hartnell (The Tribune) reports on Eleuthera’s plans for a new wind farm, which will boost wider use of wind power in the Bahamas:
A renewable energy provider is looking to “commission” its Eleuthera wind farm by early 2013, having invested $250,000 in completing the first project phase involving the construction of a Meteorological tower. Thomas Schneider, president of Schneider Power, which together with Bahamian firm, WINSO Company, has formed the Eleuthera Wind Power entity to supply renewable energy to the Tarpum Bay reverse osmosis plant, said the project was intended to be “a fantastic concept showcase” to encourage its wider use in the Bahamas.
Telling Tribune Business that 4-5 Bahamian contractors from Eleuthera, and around 25 workers in total, had been employed on first phase site clearance and tower construction, Mr Schneider said companies and households would likely see a 20-25 per cent reduction in power costs once renewable energy was integrated into the BEC grid.
The Bahamas, Mr Schneider said, fallen “slightly behind and has to catch up” with Caribbean rivals, embracing renewable energy if its economy, and key industries such as the hotel sector, are to “remain competitive”.
Eleuthera Wind Power’s $2 million wind farm, when completed, will supply only the General Electric (GE) reverse osmosis plant at Tarpum Bay. In turn, that facility is supplying Water & Sewerage Corporation customers with potable drinking water.
Construction of the Meteorological Tower is the Tarpum Bay project’s first phase, and is designed to collect data on wind speed, air pressure, direction and temperature over a 12-month period. Effectively, it is a feasibility study, designed to determine the viability of wind power at Tarpum Bay, and give confidence to both GE and the Water & Sewerage Corporation.
[. . .]Mr Schneider added that Eleuthera Wind Power had a 12-month timeframe in which to complete its Tarpum Bay wind assessments, and “will be looking at early 2013 for a commissioning date”. [. . .] If all goes well, then the Eleuthera Wind Power consortium, in which Schneider Power holds a 51 per cent majority stake, aims to “duplicate” its Tarpum Bay model at six other Family Island reverse osmosis plants. [He added that] “With oil prices going back up over $100 a barrel, it’s definitely in the Government’s interests to find renewable energy solutions.
[ . . .] Mr McDonald added on a statement: “The development project is fully privately funded and remains on time and on budget. Our planned small-scale, low-impact wind farm will eventually produce 750,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power an equivalent of 1,000 Bahamian homes.”
For full article, see http://www.tribune242.com/business/01302012_Wind_business_Page1-3
Photo (aerial view of Eleuthera) from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/04/pictures/110422-earth-day-2011-earth-day-google-doodle-satellite-from-space-pictures-nasa-astronauts/