Government of St. Kitts Hopes For Greener Nation By 2015

Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin

Energy Minister in the Federal Government, the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin is hoping that renewable energy services provided in St. Kitts-Nevis will increase 60 percent by 2015.

The Minster shared his objective with key energy stakeholders from both islands on Thursday, April 14 during a forum held at the Ocean Terrace Inn to discuss the Nation’s Draft Energy Policy.

According to Dr. Martin, a survey held by the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corp. (CARILEC), showed that electricity rates on St. Kitts-Nevis at an average EC$0.34per kilowatt were the lowest among the 18 countries that were studied. He said because of this, Governments were advised they could no longer subsidize these low rates without raising the national debt.

“The reality that CARILEC outlined is 100 percent correct,” he said. “The subsidization of fuel is not economically sustainable.

“The Government of St. Kitts is paying a high fuel bill for energy. In 2009-2010, the Ministry energy bill was EC$81,000,000 and this is not sustainable. The time now is for us to act. We need to operate in a more economical, efficient and reliable manner in relation to the generation, distribution and consumption of energy.”

Dr. Martin said his ministry wants to achieve this goal through a number of initiatives, including the corporatization of the Government-run electricity department and the diversification of the energy sector from an area 100 percent dependent on fossil fuel. He said it is with this mandate that the Government seeks to make St. Kitts-Nevis the smallest green nation in the Western Hemisphere.

“Our first step towards a greener nation was realized in 2006, with the exploration of geothermal on our sister island of Nevis,” he declared. “The exploration stage was completed with great success and promise and the next stages are production drilling and geothermal power plant construction. The island has also seen the installation of a 2.1 megawatts wind generation plant.”

The Minister said the Government had also entered into an agreement with North Star Ltd. to supply St. Kitts with wind energy. The wind farm which will be built in Bellevue is expected to produce some 20 megawatts of wind energy on the island.

The potential construction of a waste to fuel plant and a solar energy plant is also being considered by the Government to produce cleaner energy.

According to Dr. Martin, proposals from Concord Blue Energy on waste to energy projects and Dutch company Gigawatt Global regarding solar energy are in the discussion phase.

While the Government seeks to reduce its carbon footprint, Dr. Martin said consumers should practice better methods of energy conservation.

“We are fully aware that renewable would not be able to bring done the cost of electricity on St. Kitts and here is where we are looking forward to more togetherness with consumers and energy providers to make sure we are on the same part in terms of energy conservation,” he said.

The energy minister urged citizens to examine appliances to determine their energy needs and monitor the use of those products that require more energy.