BREC to Power Seven Bahamas Desalination Plants With Wind Farms

Bahamas Renewable Energy Corp., an electricity company controlled by Schneider Power Inc., plans to install seven wind turbines next to desalination plants as the nation seeks to cut the cost of potable water.

BREC signed a 20-year contract to sell electricity to government utility Bahamas Water & Sewerage Corp. in August from a 1-megawatt turbine planned for Eleuthera island, Chief Executive Officer Vincent McDonald said Nov. 18 in an e-mail. Power contracts for six other facilities may be signed by the end of the year, he said.

Removing salt from seawater in the Bahamas would be 30 percent cheaper if the country used wind energy to power that process instead of petroleum-based fuel, McDonald said.

“This will bring down the cost of living for everyone,” he said. The Bahamas “spends more than $1 billion a year on fossil fuel imports.”

BREC, based in New Providence, will sell the government electricity from its first turbine at a rate of $200 a megawatt hour, which will be sold on to Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric Co. (GE), the owner of the desalination plant, McDonald said. Power prices for end consumers on the island average $330 a megawatt hour, he said.

The Canadian government guaranteed the contract, he said.

The turbine is expected to be erected at Tarpum Bay in 2013 and six others will be built throughout the Bahamas in the following two years, McDonald said.

“These turbines can be lowered and locked and can withstand category 3 hurricanes,” according to McDonald, who’s also CEO of New Providence-based Winso Co., which holds a 49 percent stake in BREC. Schneider Power, a Toronto-based renewable energy developer, owns the other 51 percent of shares, he said.

The seven turbines will have as much as 9 megawatts of total capacity and cost about $15 million, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephan Nielsen in Sao Paulo at snielsen8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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