Storm-ravaged Bahamas is rebuilding its power grid with emphasis on solar energy. But the Bahamas has found a ray of hope – specifically, a solar array – that can help its islands survive future hurricanes. And in the process, it may have important lessons the rest of the world should learn, as Mother Nature continues to brew devastating storms like Hurricane Dorian. Dorian slammed into the northern Bahamas. It was the fifth Category 5 Atlantic hurricane in just the last three years. Before that, there hadn’t been a single “Cat-5” storm in nearly a decade.
There’s a growing consensus among scientists that climate change is what’s making hurricanes stronger and more destructive. That’s very bad news for the Bahamas, a string of more than 700 low-lying islands stretching from Florida nearly down to Cuba, in the heart of what’s come to be known as “Hurricane Alley.”
The push to build storm-proof solar microgrids in the Bahamas began in 2017 after Hurricane Irma, another Category 5 storm, tore through tiny Ragged Island, at the southern tip of the island chain.
“After Ragged Island was devastated, I made a statement: Let us show the world what can be done,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “We may be small, but we can set an example to the world.”
Minnis said it’s his goal to make Ragged Island a green island. This microgrid will produce enough electricity for Ragged Island’s roughly 100 residents. The prime minister calls it a laboratory for the solar future. The past is a diesel generator needing boats to deliver fuel from hundreds of miles away, a system Whitney Heastie says is “a nightmare.”
It’s possible that over in Great Abaco we could put, you know, a solar array, 18 acre. That power is piped through… preferably a new undersea cable to the island. And that could be a main source of our power. It is believed that this would be enough to power the island.
The Bahamas’ goal is to produce 30% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.
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