By Jeffrey Todd
Nassau Guardian Business Editor
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- A major energy producer in India is seeking to build a waste-to-energy power plant in The Bahamas, which could reduce electricity costs by 50 percent.
Facor Energy Limited, a company that, while located in the UK, has extensive operations in India and produces a whopping 6,000 megawatts of energy for the emerging superpower.
Prime Minister Perry Christie invited Facor Energy and its partners to the Bahamas International Investment and Business Forum (BIIBF) to present their ideas and perhaps move one step closer to construction.
Ashish Saraf, honorary counsel for India in The Bahamas, told Guardian Business that Facor Energy plans to construct a $200 million facility in New Providence capable of producing 50 megawatts of energy.
"If they sign the power-purchase agreement, we'll start construction tomorrow. It's that simple," he said. "And the country will have created 200 jobs in the process."
Even more significant, however, would be the potential cost savings to Bahamians.
The price of electricity in the archipelago continues to be among the highest in the western hemisphere, if not the world. Bahamians have become accustomed to referring to power bills as their "second mortgage".
Facor Energy was joined at the BIIBF by Deutsche Bank, one of the main financiers, and Istari, a London-based firm that provides technology and expertise. In fact, Istari has built 25 waste-to-energy power plants globally, the largest being an 80 megawatt plant built in London many years ago.
For The Bahamas, the proposed site for the waste-to-energy plant is the old Bacardi facility in western New Providence, spanning thousands of square feet.
"The prime minister instructed me to assemble the players and attend this conference. The group I have brought here has committed themselves," Saraf told Guardian Business.
It is estimated that the country produces around 1,100 tonnes of waste each day. And much of the material for the plant could also come from the cruise ships constantly docking in Nassau, according to Saraf.
While this project appears to have the support of Christie, and has significant financial backing and expertise, it remains to be seen whether The Bahamas will now move from theory to practice when it comes to renewable energy practices.
Guardian Business understands there are other competing waste-to-energy projects also being considered by the government.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian