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Invest SVG welcomes investment in renewable energy sector

Invest SVG welcomes investment in renewable energy sector

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Executive Director (ED) of Invest SVG Bernadette Ambrose-Black says that the ability and willingness of major oil and gas producers to step up investment in order to meet global rising demand are particularly uncertain.

“The risk of supply failure is growing and this is a major concern and as such there are {{more}}various global initiatives to move from fossil fuel to a number of alternatives or renewable energy sources.”

With this in mind, St Vincent and the Grenadines was recently introduced to SpeedTech Energy Company Limited, a Taiwanese-based entity operating in other regional and international markets.

The initiative to have SpeedTech visit these shores was one by Invest SVG, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of China on Taiwan.

A presentation of SpeedTech’s products, (solar and LED lighting fixtures) took place on Monday, June 15, at the main conference room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Speaking at this ceremony, Ambrose-Black said that the current and urgent challenge confronting the international community is the identification of plausible ways to maintain reasonable energy prices, mitigate the adverse effects of high petroleum prices, minimize fossil fuel supply disruptions, lower the increase in consumption of fossil fuels and minimize climate change effects stemming from greenhouse gas emissions, as well as design the energy supply in such a manner that it is environmentally and socially sustainable and allows access to modern energy services for all mankind.

Ambrose-Black further commented, “Consumption of petroleum products globally has fuelled environmental concerns, particularly as they relate to climate change. These concerns are no different for the smaller island states of the Caribbean region, who although only minor contributors to greenhouse effects, are vulnerable to sea level increase and changes in climate conditions, such as lower precipitation and a higher occurrence and intensity of hurricanes.”

She stressed that while several international conventions attempt to secure commitments to reduce global emissions from energy-related activities, there have been important technological advances designed to minimize adverse environmental impacts.

Technological advances, like those offered by SpeedTech.

“In our Caribbean region, where we are still affected by relatively high fuel prices, (including Trinidad in the case of solar), there are a number of islands that have already embarked on that thrust. For example, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Montserrat and even SVG have been exploring geothermal. A number of solar initiatives in Barbados, St Kitts, St Vincent and the Grenadines, to name a few. We, as small Caribbean islands, must try to explore what we have, our natural resources to produce energy and to reduce the cost of electricity,” said Ambrose-Black.

The Invest SVG executive director noted that in SVG, the major renewable energy types technology (in no particular order) are hydroelectricity, solar energy, wind energy and geothermal energy.

In endorsing SpeedTech, she said, “for the purpose of this gathering, we are focusing on solar energy and LED lighting systems. From SpeedTech’s presentation, you will notice that it’s not just solar energy in the form of the installation of photovoltaic installations for cooling/heating, but the use of other devices such as fans and radios powered by solar.”

Ambrose-Black said that Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a vision for a green economy and as such is very supportive of and welcomes investments into the renewable energy sector.

“It is one of the main economic focus sectors that Invest SVG, the investment arm of the Government has responsibility for promoting and seeking investments. In this instance our Government is pro solar.”

She opined that in her view, geothermal, hydro and solar will take us to near to a 100 per cent green energy generation by 2020.

“In fact, it is believed that St Vincent and the Grenadines has the potential to be one of the first countries worldwide to have electricity provided completely by green energy”, said Ambrose-Black.

She noted that in support and realization of this vision, the Government, operating through its Energy Unit and Vinlec has already installed small scale solar systems at the Administrative Complex and at the Lowmans Power Plant, while plans are also underway to implement solar systems at the Argyle international airport. Vinlec is also in the process of putting plans in place to install LED streetlights.

“The country has some 750 kilowatt hours of photovoltaic installations, including a 10 kilowatt-hour installation on the Financial Complex — which houses the Office of the Prime Minister — that has seen the cooling cost at that building slashed by some 20 per cent. All of the solar panels installed across the country, however, are expected to reduce by 800 tonnes annually the amount of greenhouse gases that St Vincent and the Grenadines emits into the atmosphere,” said Ambrose-Black.

Giving more stats, she noted that currently, we are 20 per cent hydro and by 2018, after the geothermal plant opens, hydro, plus geothermal will account for 80 per cent of energy.

“The improvements in hydro and expanded solar should take us the rest of the way toward becoming a totally green economy. The proposed Draft Geothermal Bill is currently in Select Committee…in fact the Committee is meeting this morning. The objective is to establish a legal framework for exploration, exploitation and investment in our tremendous geothermal resources and formalize our thrust into renewable energy.”

She added that while it is anticipated that geothermal and possibly hydropower would be the main game changers, SVG is also taking steps to monopolize or rather cash in on the long hours of sunlight that bathe the island year round.

“The benefits of solar as a source of alternative energy is worth exploring.”

Ambrose-Black is also convinced that the presentation by SpeedTech should convince persons of the need to harvest, “what we have, our natural resources, as this would only serve to take us down a path where we are self-sustainable in producing low energy and less reliant on imports and on sensitive market fluctuations affixed to our sources of energy.”

Ambrose-Black was introduced to SpeedTech during a recent visit to Taiwan and felt it fitting to share the company’s wares with SVG.

“A lot can be derived by the products that SpeedTech has to offer. The solar radios and fans with capability to charge electronics and mobile devices is a plus and I think can be extremely beneficial to all. I particularly see them being beneficial to the farming community, those farmers out in the fields,” stressed Ambrose-Black.

SpeedTech manufactures solar kits, solar power farms, solar street lights, solar water pumps, solar portable lighting, solar radios and LED lighting, to name a few.

Ambrose-Black said that renewable energy is one of the economic focus sectors for which Invest SVG has responsibility and that it is from this vantage point that they are hoping to enhance the sector, via investments from companies such as SpeedTech.

“We believe that you as an entrepreneur, and by extension the Vincentian economy and society could benefit tremendously from this presentation and the endless possibilities that it is subjected to realize,” she quipped.

Also present at the demonstration were Taiwanese Ambassador Baushuan Ger, SpeedTech Sales director Emma Huang and senior engineer Bruce Wu.

Ambassador Ger spoke about SpeedTech being a very important company in Taiwan and thanked Invest SVG for organizing the event. He is also hoping for other similar business initiatives.

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