Consumer choices ‘will drive change to renewable energy’

Consumer choices “at the level of households, businesses and institutions” will drive the change to a renewable energy society, Minister of Environment Earl Deveaux said at the launch of the Bahamas Waste biodiesel facility.

The plant converts waste cooking oil supplied by companies like Bamboo Shack, Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC, and Wendy’s to biodiesel for use in the company’s fleet of vehicles and all other mechanical equipment currently using petroleum diesel.

Research conducted by the Cape Eleuthera Institute shows the Bahamas generates 700,000 to 800,000 gallons of waste cooking oil annually between cruise ships and commercial restaurants. Small scale restaurants and residential properties generate an additional few hundred gallons.

Phenton Neymour, Minister of State for the Environment, said of all the companies granted licenses for biodiesel production, Bahamas Waste “came out of the blocks running and cross the finished line first”.

In praising the initiative, Mr Deveaux said there are many opportunities for the private sector and individual consumers to move the country towards energy efficiency, and there are decisions that are entirely in the hands of Bahamians.


One of them is “changing the colour of your roof by painting it white to reduce amount of heat energy entering your home”, said Mr Deveaux.

Another is converting to solar water heaters and energy efficient light bulbs, he said, as well as “leaving trees around your property to reduce the energy load on your home”.

Mr Deveaux said “all of the blinking lights” on electronic equipment indicate energy is being consumed. He encouraged Bahamians to adopt the practice of turning of the computer rather than leaving it on sleep mode; turning off the television when no one is watching it; and generally being conscious of energy consumption habits.

There is currently legislation in place to create incentives for energy efficiency, said Mr Deveaux, although he agreed it does not go far enough.

Amendments in the Tariff Act, he said, provide preferential tariffs for energy efficient devices, appliances, bulbs and vehicles. Energy efficiency on appliances is measured by a SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio).

Mr Deveaux said: “If you are having problems at the border it is probably because the Customs officer does not know what a SEER rating is”.

He said consumers should “hold their ground” and “simply educate the officer” to access their cost savings.