CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (October 21, 2010) — New Chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Environment Policy Committee (EPC) and Minister responsible for the Environment, Renewable Resources on Nevis Hon. Carlisle Powell, expressed the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) willingness to share its experience in the development of renewable energy with the rest of the Caribbean.
Mr. Powell’s announcement came while he delivered the feature address at the official opening of the one day 14th Ministerial EPC at the Mount Nevis Hotel on Tuesday.
“Even as we continue to develop renewable energies in the Caribbean, even as we continue to protect the environment, I urge all of us not to be selfish. Lessons learnt in one area, must not be kept as secrets from the other islands…
“We have always made it clear that the experience and expertise we gained in hammering out the Power Purchase Agreements with the geothermal company West Indies Power and with WindWatt the wind company, that experience and the experience gained in discussing and negotiating the contract as well, that Nevis will make our experience and our expertise available to the rest of the OECS and the rest of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM),” he said.
Earlier this year Nevis became the first island in the OECS with a commercial Wind Farm and in 2009 the NIA signed a contract with West Indies Power for the provision of geothermal energy in 2011.
The Renewable Energy Minister advised colleague ministers, that if they wanted to learn the Nevis lessons regarding renewable energy development, they could make their own mistakes but should not repeat those made by Nevis because the information was available.
However, Mr. Powell said even as the region thought of renewable energy in terms of the environment, many had not thought of the wind and solar resources which were abundantly available across the OECS.
“It [wind] is not something that is unique to Nevis but how close are we to developing our own programmes? How close are we to making sure that the oil tankers don’t come with as much frequency to our islands? How close are we to making sure that if there is an oil spill it is not in our part of the world? Do we have the necessary skills to clean up after an oil tanker disaster in the Caribbean? I dare say we don’t.
“What are we doing to make sure that we can produce enough energy to become self sufficient? How close are we to spreading the joys of solar energy use with respect to providing hot water? How much longer will we talk?” he enquired.
He pointed to 350 years ago, when sugar plantation owners harnessed wind energy to squeeze juice from cane yet 350 years later he said, “we are still talking in the Caribbean. It is time for all of us to understand that the answer is indeed blowing in the wind.”
During his presentation, Mr. Powell also spoke of what he termed The Nevis Case and pointed to the advances the island had made with regard to water explorations and alternative sources of energy.
He said that as a result of the availability of water, the island had not been adversely affected by a drought that had affected others in the Caribbean earlier this year and consumers continued to enjoy water 24hours a day, seven days a week because of the NIA’s decision to undertake deep drilling.
In relation to the wind energy, he said it was only the first step because it was the NIA’s intention to continue explorations of geothermal energy until Nevis became completely green – a 100 percent renewable energy island.
The feature address was warmly received by the colleague Ministers who applauded at the strides Nevis had made in the area of renewable energy and water as the island endeavoured to protect the environment and to ensure sustainable development for its people.
Those present were Hon. Walcott Richardson from Anguilla, Hon. Sylvester Quareless from Grenada, Hon. Joseph E. Farrel from Montserrat, Hon. Douglas Slater from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Permanent Secretaries – St. Lucia Mr. George James, Mr. Clyde Lettsome from the British Virgin Islands and Ms. Sharon Peters from Antigua and Barbuda