The completed terminal building at the new Argyle International Airport, which CDF wants to be lit and cooled using solar energy
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- The Barbados-based CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) is promoting “greening” or environmentally friendly energy projects” in the region and, to this end, is striving to have the new multi-million dollar Argyle International Airport in St Vincent and the Grenadines as a flagship for the initiative.
CEO Ambassador Lorne McDonnough said, “The US$600 million airport is one of the big infrastructural projects within CARICOM in which the CDF is involved. So far, the CDF has provided St Vincent and the Grenadines with US$7.5 million in a mixture of loans and grants to be used for the construction of the runway and apron, acquisition and installation of the runway lighting. The CDF is pursuing an initiative to establish a renewable energy plant during this year to be located in the compound of the Argyle Airport.”
The CEO added, “We at the CDF recognize the main expense of the airport will be the cost of electricity, which in the early years of operation can be prohibitive. Consequently, we are working with our development partners on the possibility of making it a fully “green” airport, if we can.
“It has been a tough struggle so far but we have not given up trying to ensure that the facility is taken off of the grid. To this end, we have been encouraged with the receipt of some funds from the governments of Turkey and Finland to make the airport fully solar lit and air-conditioned at peak demand in the first instance. It is expected that any excess generation through the grid will be available to the rest of St Vincent. It’s still a work in progress but we are hoping we will be successful.”
The CDF has also been providing funding for green environmentally friendly initiatives elsewhere in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), namely, in St Kitts and Nevis and Grenada, as well as the Belize private sector and is readying itself to start work with the ministry of transport and works in the latter country on the Sir Phillip Goldson (Northern Highway) rehabilitation project.
McDonnough said, “We are very excited about this project because one of the things we want to do as a young organisation is to collaborate with other development partners, especially more powerful ones, in order to carve out our niche and this project provides an opportunity for us to work with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
“We will be providing the Belize government with their counterpart funds and it will be focusing on a component of that road project, which is a new bridge that has to be constructed, for which we will be providing just over US$3 million.”