Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands (Thursday, June 8, 2023) - FortisTCI will invest $8 million to install the country's first solar plus battery microgrids to power 30% of the electricity supply on North and Middle Caicos and 91% of the electricity supply on Salt Cay in 2024. The microgrids represent the Company's single largest green energy investment to date.
The announcement was made on Thursday, June 1, 2023, as the Company hosted a business cocktail event called 'Energy Hour', at The Farm Restaurant, Seven Stars Resort. FortisTCI signed a contract with Compass Solar the following day at TCI Energy Forum. The Bahamas-based renewable energy company will install the solar components of the project and emerged as the winning bidder following a tender process that included local and regional companies. Hitachi will provide the battery storage service.
Construction on the twin-islands project will commence this year, and the system will come on stream in 2024. The solar plus battery microgrid on Salt Cay will also be operational in 2024. Both microgrids will encompass a battery energy storage connected to the primary grid with the ability to disconnect and operate independently, as necessary.
An independent study was used to determine the feasibility of microgrids in outer islands. Based on factors such as cost, each island's electricity system, including generation resources, customer electricity use trends, fuel usage, and the amount of land available, North and Middle Caicos and Salt Cay were selected.
The solar plus battery microgrids are among several strategic investments that FortisTCI is making to meet growing energy demand and accelerate the transition to renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions and lowering energy costs over time. These investments are aligned with Company's integrated resource plan (IRP), which supports an optimal energy mix that includes diesel, with at least 33% renewable energy integrated by 2040.
FortisTCI has conducted various studies to help determine the best energy mix for the country. These include gas-to-power research, which explored how the Company can integrate natural gas (LNG) into the energy mix. A study to determine the feasibility of wind as an energy source is currently underway on North Caicos.
Since 2015, FortisTCI has continued to expand its Utility Owned Renewable Energy (UORE) Program through customer partnerships. The Company has 2.6 MW of solar PV on the grid through 18 systems. These installations have produced over 4.8 GWh of green energy, avoiding 3.75k tons of CO2 emissions.
FortisTCI President and CEO Ruth Forbes stated: "We are taking significant steps to transform how we produce and distribute energy in the Turks and Caicos Islands. FortisTCI is greening the islands with our latest investments. Microgrids on North Caicos and Salt Cay will significantly decrease the overall cost of energy production in these islands. With appropriate amendments to the electricity ordinance, customers can benefit from lower energy prices over time. We will continue to work with TCIG to achieve this outcome. Reducing our dependence on imported diesel fuel, expanding renewable energy integration, and lowering the cost of electricity over time are all part of the sustainable energy future we are building for the Turks and Caicos Islands."