Today’s post is actually yesterdays, but I fell down a rabbit hole of actually trying to find to the answer to a question posed by my four-year old grandnephew, D.O., while he was here on winter break. While driving past the eastern side of the Q.E. Sports Center, he asked about the solar farm and begged the answer to a question, “What is that for?”
He, having a fundamental knowledge of solar panels, as my sister, his grandmother, a more progressive and fiscally prudent person than I, has solar panels on her home. He wanted to know what the energy source was powering.
We were able to find the initial press release on the Bahamas Government website which outlined that the park was to be the largest and first of several solar initiatives launched throughout the country. The 900-kw park is supposed to drive power to the overall grid, with the capacity to fuel 600 homes. So, there you go, D.O.! That’s your answer.
But wait! Nope, let’s just keep reading…
The project, according to the source, was the product of the collaboration between The Bahamas and the United Arab Emirates and references a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2017, but doesn’t discuss BPL’s role in the process? Has the power company begun the process of tying external power into the grid? Does this mean that private consumers will have this option in the near future? How did this new power source affect our 2019 power cuts? Was the impact of the last year’s BPL power management fiasco mitigated by this new source?
We immediately began researching this MOU, because maybe it held the keys to the doors of information that remained locked but could only find links to a 2016 MOU between the two countries. These sources, although, only discussed the visa concessions between the two countries, and nothing about this project or the grant for thee solar park. So now, we have more questions and are on the investigative trail:
Is this the same MOU?
Is there a public version of this document available? Can you say FOIA?
Are there multiple MOUs or does this single MOU outline several other projects that the public should/might want to know about?
A call was placed to the senior environmental officer, Rhianna Neely-Murphy at the Ministry of Environment and Housing as she is referenced in the BIS press release. She and her team were out of office. We also reached out to the of Foreign Affairs – the government agency having signed the MOU–for more details with no luck. We will continue to follow up on this and hopefully shed some light on the details next week. Stay tuned.
Read the press release or yourself here:
Stakeholders Laud Benefits of Solar Car Park[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]