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No discussions on sale of VINLEC – Emera

No discussions on sale of VINLEC – Emera


The widespread rumours that energy and services company Emera has been holding discussions with the Government of SVG, with a view to purchasing VINLEC, are false.

According to Peter Williams, managing director of Emera (Caribbean) Inc, no such discussions are taking place or have taken place.{{more}}

The rumours began last week, when civil engineer Glenford Stewart, a former minister under the New Democratic Party (NDP) administration, called into the New Times programme on Nice Radio and announced that discussions in relation to the sale of St Vincent Electricity Services Ltd (VINLEC) were taking place.

“Are you aware of discussions being held at the moment for the sale of VINLEC to Emera?” he asked programme host Daniel Cummings.

“Emera Caribbean Inc is a reputable company. It is traded on the Barbados Stock Exchange. You aware of that, right? Now, have you been aware of the progress made in discussions held with Emera?” Stewart asked.

“You mean they already in discussions to buy Vinlec?” Cummings responded, to which Stewart replied, “Certainly!”

According to Stewart, St Vincent and the Grena­dines needs the money from the sale of VINLEC.

“The country is in deep financial trouble, please be aware of that… Let us not be blind, or play blind and stupid,” he declared.

“VINLEC is the next company to go, believe it or not. You check it out.”

Bassy Alexander, in his weekly column ‘The Love Vine’ in SEARCHLIGHT, picked up from where Stewart left off. In his article published last Friday, he wrote: “It is ah big secret here, but published big and bold in de minutes of Emera Caribbean Board Meeting is dat discussions are in progress for Emera Caribbean to tek over Vinlec.”

Williams, in a release issued Tuesday, denied the claims made by Stewart and Alexander.

“Recent statements which have appeared in the St Vincent media have suggested that, along with the geothermal initiative, EC is having discussions with the Government of St Vincent and the Grena­dines on the subject of acquiring a controlling shareholding interest in St Vincent Electricity Services Limited (VINLEC). This is not the case and no such discussions are taking place or have taken place.”

He said his company is partnering with the Government of SVG to develop a geothermal resource at the foothills of La Soufriere.

“As stated during stakeholder sessions held in St Vincent in July, a key objective of the geothermal project is to move St Vincent away from a dependency on imported diesel fuel to a sustainable energy path based on an indigenous, stable and affordable resource….

“A project of this scale requires many partners to work in close cooperation. In this regard, VINLEC is playing an important role in the project in meeting its duty to ensure the energy from the proposed geothermal plant is delivered to the grid in a manner that does not compromise the safety and reliability of the electricity network. VINLEC engineers are engaged and will continue to be involved in discussions regarding the transmission interconnection requirements and other technical aspects of the project.

“The geothermal project is also receiving the support of the Clinton Foundation, which is providing the Government with independent policy and legal advice as part of the Clinton Climate Change Initiative. EC’s partner in the project, Reykjavik Geothermal, has a proven team of experienced geothermal experts who collectively have been responsible for projects in over 30 countries, including development of one of the world’s largest geothermal power plants in Iceland.

“The project continues to make steady progress and will soon be moving to the drilling phase. When completed, the Island’s geothermal resource will position St Vincent among the leaders in transforming the Caribbean to a green energy future,” the release from Williams stated.

The US$82 million geothermal project was officially launched in SVG on July 15, 2015. The project involves the evaluation of the geothermal resource at La Soufrière, the drilling and testing of geothermal wells, the construction of a 10 to 15 megawatt geothermal powerplant, the construction of new transition lines to connect the powerplant to the grid and the operation of the plant.

Emera (Caribbean) Inc is the parent company of Barbados Light & Power, the majority shareholder in Dominica Electricity Services Ltd, and an investor in St Lucia Electricity Services Ltd. Emera (Caribbean) is owned by Emera Inc, an international energy and services company with roots in Nova Scotia, Canada.