Bahamian energy proposal heads stateside for funding
By VERNON CLEMENT JONES, Guardian Business Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Bahamian company looking to harness the ocean currents flowing around Eleuthera in order to furnish the island with electricity is in early talks with U.S. venture capitalists and energy companies to win the $1.5 million necessary to start the operation churning.
“Renewable energy financing remains strong in the U.S. despite the economy,” said Jennifer Stubbs, director of marketing for Caribbean Alternative Energy Ltd. (CAEL) “Bahamians are a little more conservative but we’re confident that financing interest remains high in the States, where money for other ventures has been affected by the economy.
Talks of finding alternative energy sources have dominated conversations for weeks, but CAEL is now putting the finishing touches on its renewable energy proposal for BEC, with Stubbs suggesting it will be before the review committee by the end of July. The offer will initially focus on providing power for the island of Eleuthera, although the company has ambitions of spreading that project to the rest of the country. The technology, something CAEL will import initially although it hopes to eventually manufacture here, is simple, said Stubbs.
It relies on underwater wind turbines, with blades turned by water flow instead of wind. That movement generates power, sent coursing along cables to a converter and then onto land before being dispersed to homes and businesses across the country.
While it could also be used as a main energy source, Stubbs’ proposal will focus on providing backup power for the overburdened power grid on mainland Eleuthera and Harbour Island.
It’s a new technology that is nonetheless found successful application across the globe. It’s potential for electricity generation is relatively high compared to other renewable energy sources like wind and solar, said Stubbs.
It’s a pitch the company has now taken on the road to the U.S., where analysts suggest the equity investment market remains strong for those seeking backing for alternative energy projects.
That runs counter to the rest of the market, which has seen venture capital funding challenged by the weak economy. Many are now calling it a recession. But the spiraling ascendance of fossil fuel prices has only wet the appetite of Americans looking to beat the gas pump. Whether that interest will apply to projects outside of the U.S. is something Stubbs and the company’s team of current investors will soon find out.