Tuesday, May 11, 2010

American Ambassador advocates alternative energy


The second of a three-part series from an interview done by Acting Managing Editor Fred Sturrup with United States Ambassador to The Bahamas, Nicole Avant, appears today exclusively in The Freeport News. In granting her first official interview since being ap-pointed, Ambassador Avant touched on a number of issues relevant to The Baha-mas at this time and she expressed her country's strong interest in the revival of Grand Bahama. Accordingly, The Freeport News brings to its readers a rather refreshing perspective of the top-ranked Ameican diplomat in the country.

By FRED STURRUP

FN Acting Managing Editor

The chief representative in The Bahamas for the United States of America is of the view that this country is an excellent testing bed for an alternative energy initiative.

U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas, Nicole Avant, expressed as much in a recent exclusive interview.

The man who appointed her, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, had as a major plank in his campaign appeal to American voters, a "new energy future."

In Grand Bahama today, for residents who have been suffering through recent electrical outage problems daily, alternative energy sources would be a welcome option.

The Freeport News has been swamped with telephone calls. They have come from private homeowners and business persons who have bitterly decried the constant power failure. Business owners have informed the Freeport News of having to close operations because of the power problem.

Thus, it is very likely that in this island from this point onward, alternative energy will be in the minds of residents.

According to Ambassador Avant, alternative energy is important to President Obama.

That certainly is the case.

He has made no secret of his desire to chart a new course in his country for alternative energy.

The President has called upon all within the sound of his voice to make a push for alternative options to the common methods used for energy. Firstly, for most consumers, electricity (energy sourced by fuel, coal or natural gas) is becoming unbearably expensive. Se-condly the energy used mostly, creates pollution, a global climate hazzard. President Obabm has said:

"We will invest in energy efficiency and conservation, two sure-fire ways to decrease deadly pollution and drive down the demand. And, we will hold special interests accountable as we finally work to address climate change and its potentially catastrophic effects."

Of course, the world is invited to follow the President's lead.

Ambassador Avant speaks of the ocean and wind in The Bahamas, core ingredients for energy. Certainly, the country is ideal. There are many waterways throughout the islands of The Bahamas that are perfect for energy sources with the appropriate technology applied. Energy can be generated from the tides and the waves. Dams can be constructed for the purpose of hydroelectricity. This method, according to experts, eliminates gas emmissions and as such causes little or no pollution.

For The Bahamas the alternative energy options might be quite expensive. The American Government would be prepared to assist in the way of technical support.

Around the world, more and more, nations are subscribing to alternative energy sources.

Information out of India has that country "looking towards Germany for technological assistance and knowledge transfer in the field of renewable energy, especially for rural electrification and grid integration."

Indeed, according to One India news service, " German companies, which have the largest solar market worldwide, are keen to enter India with their Solar thermal and concentrated solar power products as well as to facilitate the transfer of technology through workshops and training under India's National Solar Mission."

The Government of The Bahamas might be moving in the direction of a Solar Mission Committee, in the near future. In a recent address, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham indicated an interest in alternative energy.

It is clear from Ambassador Avant that if our government pursues that course, her government would willingly assist.

Meanwhile here on the island, even when the situation is normalized by the Grand Bahama Power Company, consumers can expect higher bills. GBPC president Allan Kelly has informed that " the fuel surchage portion of bills for May will be high." He attributes the development to operating challenges experienced by the company.

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