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A man walks through the rubble in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Great Abaco island town of Marsh Harbour on September 2, 2019. (Photo: PBS)

Bahamas looks to alternative energy for Dorian affected islands

A man walks through the rubble in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Great Abaco island town of Marsh Harbour on September 2, 2019. (Photo: PBS)

The Bahamas government says it will erect microgrids on the island of Abaco as the country continues the rehabilitation exercise following the passage of Hurricane Dorian last September that left damage estimated at US$3.4 billion.

Hurricane Dorian caused damages totalling US$3.4 billion in the Bahamas last September.

Speaking on the US television programme “60 Minutes” aired on the CBS network on Sunday night, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis stressed the urgency of implementing solar power across the archipelago to better recover from hurricanes that had become much more intensified  due to the effects of climate change.

Minnis told the programme that The Bahamas does not contribute to climate change as much as First World countries do, recalling that in his address to the United Nations last year, he raised the issue.

“First World nations, and this is what I said at the UN (United Nations), I said First World nations make the greatest contribution to climate change. They are the ones responsible for the changes that we see, the increase in velocity and ferocity of the hurricanes and the different, and the changes, typhoons that we see today. But we’re the innocent victim; we’re the ones that are being impacted by what you’ve created.”

Prime Minister of the Bahamas Hubert Minnis (Photo: caricom.org)

Asked on the programme about the importance of the country changing to renewable energy, Minnis said “it is because even though our contribution to climate change is minimal, it’s minuscule, to compare with First World nations, but we still have a responsibility.”

When Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm, swept through the archipelago last September, killing more than 70 people, the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama were severely affected with many areas on Abaco still without power six months later.

Viewers were told that, a non-government organisation, Rocky Mountain Institute, has plans to install a 15-acre solar microgrid between the government office and clinic in Marsh Harbour, although the project will take months.

An aerial view of floods and damages from Hurricane Dorian on Freeport, Grand Bahama on September 5, 2019. (Photo by Adam DelGiudice / AFP)

But Minnis said the country needs help to be able to afford the needed solar power solutions.

“We cannot afford it. We recognised from day one that we cannot do it alone,” he said, adding that the United States and Europe should contribute to an insurance fund to help the country better recover from storms.

“It’s an ongoing discussion,” he said, recalling that following the destruction on Ragged Island caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017, he made a statement saying ‘Let us show the world what can be done.’

“We may be small, but we can set an example to the world.”