Basseterre, St. Kitts — With the 2010 St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party’s Manifesto under the theme ‘Progress, Not Promises’ where the government pledged to “press ahead with plans and actions to attain sustainable energy self sufficiency, to further enhance the reliability and durability of the existing energy infrastructure,” in mind, Prime Minister the Rt Hon Dr Denzil Douglas has said the government has started to organise its thoughts on creating a sustainable future for generations of Kittitians and Nevisians.
“We have invested heavily in energy generation, energy transmission and energy security,” the Prime Minister said on Thursday October 17 at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort when he delivered the feature address during the 2013 National Consultation on the Economy held in preparation for the 2014 Budget, which was held under the theme ‘The Green Economy a Pathway Towards a Sustainable Future’.
“We remain committed and confident, fully confident in ensuring that renewable energy plays an ever-increasing role in the sustainable future of this our beloved Federation, and as government’s policy continues to shine intensely on solar as demonstrated recently by the public sector and public sector initiatives that are currently in place,” noted the Prime Minister.
Dr Douglas said that his administration is mindful that energy efficiency is extremely important to the growth and development of the economy. He observed that the government understands that pursuing renewal alternatives is part of its own obligation under international sustainable development governance structures for it is a vital part of how it would seek to cut carbon emissions while at the same time meet growing energy demand in a way that protects the environment for generations to come.
He said that as a government they are mindful also that developing renewable energy options is right; ensuring that it is right for the economy and it is right for St. Kitts and Nevis because government cannot sit idly by and wait for the international community to devise strategies and solutions to cope with the present day economy headwinds.
“Not when those winds are seemingly recharged by political and civil instability, the kind of instability that has damaged socio-economic infrastructure and continue to reverse decades of human progress, particularly as we have seen in the Middle East and in North Africa,” cautioned the Prime Minister. “Make no mistake, when it comes to green energy initiatives, we are in a regional and global race. Those that succeed in that race, those are the ones that will prosper.”
He told the Consultation that its size notwithstanding, St. Kitts and Nevis will push hard and arrive specifically ahead of the pack in the region, despite the setbacks that have been experienced regarding the geothermal project, as Nevis Premier the Hon Vance Amory had advised the Consultation. He noted that the Federation was on a good track and that it would remain in focus on becoming the greenest and the most energy efficient economy in the region.
The government, Prime Minister Douglas advised, had already embarked on several specific sustainable energy initiatives that are geared toward the greening of the economy and mainstreaming of the ‘green economy’ into existing development programmes and strategies, so as to steadily reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, and to steadily increase the percentage of its energy needs that are met by renewable sources.
Among the initiatives started by the government, Dr Douglas mentioned the installation of solar panels at Government Headquarters, installation of solar street lighting along the Island Main Road from Sandy Point to St. Pauls, and solar lighting of the R.L. Bradshaw Memorial Park in St. Pauls.
Others are the installation of energy efficient lighting along the Kim Collins Highway and Frigate Bay Road, development of a one megawatt solar farm at the R.L. Bradshaw International Airport, and development of a solar panel manufacturing firm at the C.A. Paul Southwell Industrial Estate.
“Additionally, my government and your government, the people’s government has developed an energy policy that allows for the creation of an enabling environment to support the granting of concessions for the growth and expansion of green energy initiatives,” said the Prime Minister. “To this end I am particularly pleased that our corporate community has come on board and is partnering with us in the ‘greening of the economy’.
“I make specific mention of S.L. Horsford & Company Limited, and the T.D.C. Group of companies, both having invested and recently commissioned solar energy infrastructure at Valu Mart and TDC Home & Building Depot respectively.”
He further observed that TDC at its Home and Building Depot has created a ‘Green Department’ that is specialising in energy efficiency commercial and household products.
“Both Horsfords and TDC, they deserve recognition for the very tangible demonstration of the type of forward thinking and action we in Government have been advocating for some time. Let us give them a round of applause,” commented Dr Douglas.
He also added that the entire Kittitian Hill Project has been conceptualised under a particular theme of a ‘green energy’ project, and advised those who have not had the opportunity to visit Kittitian Hill, to please do so now before construction phase one is completed.
“I believe that in going forward, those businesses that are best insulated from energy price shocks are going to be the most successful,” advised the Prime Minister. “We in our country likewise and those households, those consumers who are the least exposed to high energy prices are those households whose bills will be the most manageable.”
Prime the Rt Hon Dr Denzil Douglas announced that the government will shortly be launching an initiative where affordable homes in the new Habitat Independence 30 Housing Programme provided by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) will be equipped with, and powered by solar panels.
“This government is working,” stated the Prime Minister. “Your government is working assiduously to ensure that our people are elevated and that the general living standards and wealth of St. Kitts and Nevis is substantially improved.
“And although there are those who are saying or might be trying to say that we can’t afford to prioritise green energy right now, my view is we can’t afford not to. In fact I am very pleased that with limited resources, step by step, we are doing just that.”