Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 19, 2016 (SKNIS): The thrust in renewable energy in St. Kitts and Nevis has been progressing and the St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) Limited has sought to get on board to further assist consumers in the Federation to reduce energy costs.
During the Government’s weekly radio and television programme “Working for You” on Wednesday (August 17), Gawain Fraites, Public Relations Officer (PRO) at SKELEC, said that renewable energy is of significant importance, as it is essential to livelihoods.
“We have realised that it is the wave of the future and we [have] to get in early otherwise we [will] get left behind,” said Mr. Fraites. “But we are taking our time in getting it done right. We know it is not cheap either and it is not a cheap endeavour whether you are going to do wind, solar or geothermal.
In mentioning geothermal, the PRO stated that SKELEC is working with Teranov- the French engineering and services company out of Guadeloupe, who is presently doing expeditions in the Federation.
SKELEC is already tapping sources of renewable energy. The two acre solar farm located on the Frigate Bay Road adjacent to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is owned by the company. Mr. Fraites stated that although it is small compared to others he has seen in other countries, it “provides enough for what [SKELEC] wants it to do,” and stressed that the company is hoping to expand the farm.
Owing to that fact that solar energy is a costly venture, the PRO encouraged citizens and residents alike to ensure that their electricity bills are paid.
“When you help us by paying your bills we are able to get into these things quicker,” said Mr. Fraites. “So you help us so that we could be able to diversify from fossil fuel into clean energy to provide you with a lower cost. As a government mandate that is where we are going.”
St. Kitts and Nevis continues to enhance its use of solar energy through assistance of governments and funding from regional projects. The Republic of China (Taiwan) has been the Federation’s main solar energy partner. Assistance was also given through participation in programmes such as the Caribbean Renewable Energy Programme, a CARICOM project funded by the Government of Germany and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Presently, there are two solar farms in St. Kitts and Nevis, the first being a 5 acre farm located at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport. The second is the Frigate Bay Road Solar Farm which is a part of the Government’s “Go Green” initiative; it is valued at US$1.55 million and is a collaborative effort between SKELEC and Taiwan.