Former US President Bill Clinton (left) and St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2013. Photo: Erasmus Williams
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CUOPM) -- St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas says the continuing high cost of imported oil for electricity generation is not sustainable and his administration is continuing to pursue alternative energy sources.
Douglas, responding to a question during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister,” a day after he and energy minister, Dr Earl Asim Martin, held talks with representatives of the Clinton Foundation Climate Initiative, said the Foundation is providing technical support and will be working with the government of St Kitts and Nevis and with the department of electricity and energy in particular to bring the cost of electricity down.
“We are dependent upon the importation of petroleum products, diesel in particular, from which we generate electricity; the fuel that we consume to generate electricity is diesel. Diesel is imported from overseas. It has been having a very unstable climb in the price. The price keeps going up and up with very few opportunities for it to come down and the more the price of the diesel goes up, the more therefore it costs us to generate electricity and thus the fuel charge on your electricity bill will be higher. It means then that you have to pay more money for the use of electricity,” Douglas explained.
He said the continuing high price of electricity is not sustainable.
“It means it cannot continue forever, it is going to create serious problems for us. We therefore have decided to use other forms of energy as I said in the opening statement, we have wind, we have solar -- the sun -- and we have geothermal, which is embodied within the body of the earth and so we are finding ways of using those energy sources to generate electricity and thus bring our dependence on diesel down and thus the cost of electricity down,” he further explained.
“We have agreed that they [the Clinton Foundation] are going to send a team here in two weeks’ time. They are going to send a team of experts who is going to sit with us. They are going to look at where we have reached so far in removing ourselves from the dependence of fossil based energy or diesel energy; they are going to look at how much the Taiwanese have done so far in assisting us in the creation of a solar energy farm and their promised assistance with another two megawatt plant down there at the Agro Tourism Project.
“They are going to be looking at the prospects for wind energy that we have been working on for some time with the North Star Company. They are going to look at how we dispose of our waste and maybe how we might be able to work closely on a new project to convert waste into energy or electricity and then they would allow us with their support to find the necessary investors who will be joining with the government in joint ventures,” said Douglas.
He said the Clinton Foundation representatives will also provide technical support to the Nevis Island Administration with regard to the geothermal energy project on that island that has been ongoing for several years, but which seems to have been stalled.
“They will also look at the potential of the island of St Kitts to also generate geothermal energy and thus revolutionize our dependence on fossil fuel energy in St Kitts and Nevis and bring us into a new realm, where they will be green energy, cheaper energy, sustainable energy and this will impact on the cost of generating electricity and the consumers then, will pay less for their electricity use,” Douglas told listeners.
“They have said that they want to do this very quickly, working with the government of St Kitts and Nevis, working with myself as the prime minister and the deputy prime minister, Dr Earl Asim Martin, who is also our minister of energy, and with SKELEC as our electricity company,” said the prime minister.
“This is a very important initiative that is being aggressively pursued by the Clinton Foundation,” said Douglas, adding, “We expect the Clinton Foundation will work with us to impact positively on the lives of the people of St Kitts and Nevis by bringing cheaper energy sources and thus cheaper electricity for the consumers of St Kitts and Nevis, of course it is going to mean upfront investment, but nevertheless at the end of it, it is going to lead to cheaper electricity costs for our people.”