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Government taking steps to provide cheaper energy

Government taking steps to provide cheaper energy

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The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines is taking steps towards providing energy to the nation at a much cheaper cost.Over the years, this country has been making strides towards utilizing cleaner energy sources, namely hydro and solar energy, and in May 2013, with the help of the Clinton Global{{more}} Initiative (CGI), this multi-island state launched a geothermal energy development project.

Earlier this week, during the launch of CARICOM Energy Week, representative from the CGI, Elizabeth DeLucia, noted that the project “takes advantage of the abundant geothermal resource here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

“For decades, this resource has been known to exist, with the first scientific studies happening in the 1970s. However, it was only in the past years – in the past few months in fact-under this regime and administration and with the help of the Clinton Foundation that the energy resource has been proven. It is large enough to power most of the island’s electricity needs with much cheaper fuel from a domestic source. This will truly transform the economy,” DeLucia declared.

While highlighting several other initiatives being undertaken throughout the Caribbean, the CGI representative revealed that the organization was impressed with the leadership within the region and their understanding of the urgency of sustainable energy development, which is linked to overall sustainable development.

“Prime Minister Gonsalves has been unwaveringly supportive of transforming the energy economy and thereby the economy overall by welcoming a renewable energy regime that is ripe with renewable energy,” she said, while noting the commissioning of the new solar photovoltaic plant at VINLEC’s Campden Park location.

“To demonstrate this, we have not only the solar project that we are commissioning today, but a transformative geothermal project that the Clinton Foundation has been working closely with the government on for the past few years. To demonstrate the urgency with which the government is working, this all began as a conversation two and a half years ago, between the Clinton Foundation, the energy unit and the utility and by now we have struck a very productive and fair partnership with the private sector company that has both the economic strength and the technical expertise to implement a geothermal project in the next few years.”

DeLucia stressed that this geothermal resource will not only bring on board a clean, domestic source of energy but a reliable source with the capability to generate power around the clock.

In his address, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves thanked Clinton and the CGI for connecting with this multi-island state and facilitating the connection with Canadian company, Emera Inc, which will be facilitating the geothermal project.

“In June next year, we are going to get a business plan and we have given parameters in this regard through our MOU and we will see the numbers; but we have given them a number which they cannot exceed in respect of the current price of electricity, so that when we have geothermal, the expectation is that we will have a significant reduction in the price,” Gonsalves said.

“Of course, it will depend on the extent to which we mobilize resources to invest in the company, a joint venture operation. I’m hoping that with all we are doing that we will get some grant money to help us to invest into this business.”

If all goes well, the geothermal plant will be delivered between late 2017 and early 2018 and is expected to provide the island with 10 megawatts of energy.(BK)