CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (March 30, 2010) — An official of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus said Monday, the Caribbean’s highest institution of learning had a keen interest in ongoing work in renewable energy on Nevis.
Dean of Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences at the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus) Mr. Peter Gibbs made the observation on Monday in an interview with the Department of Information just before his departure from the island later that day.
“We are very interested in seeing what is really happening in the Caribbean with renewable energy and Nevis is the only place right now that is really moving ahead and doing something that is concrete and real and just reading about it on the internet is not enough you need to come and see what is really happening,” he said.
When asked for his impressions of the geothermal and the Wind Farm sites at the end of a tour of the areas, he said he was assured that something tangible was happening.
“Quite a number of the countries have been talking and planning for a number of years but nothing really happened and I think that Nevis is way higher than everyone, not only in physically doing something but also as far as legislation is concerned, making it available and encouraging investment into this area,” he said.
However, Mr. Gibbs contended that though the oil prices had dropped from what he termed a tremendous peak over the last five years, renewable energy of any sort was the way forward for the islands of the region.
“I think alot of them have put this effort that they were looking to put in renewable energy on the back burner but I am pretty sure in the years ahead, we all know that the fossil fuel will be depleted and they will have to take an interest in renewable energy in all forms,” he said.
The UWI described the renewable energy projects on Nevis as fine examples of persons taking risks to invest in technology that was considered new to the Caribbean.
“I am sure that the experts would have told them that it is being implemented in some areas overseas in much larger countries on a much larger scale but it is important that it is displayed as a showcase to the Caribbean that it can also be done on a small scale.
“If that can happen and we can prove to everyone that it works I am pretty sure, that all the other Caribbean countries will just fall in line,” he said.
Asked whether there were any lessons to be learnt for Barbados, from the Nevis renewable energy experience, the UWI Lecturer said there was.
“Barbados does not have any potential for geothermal compared to Nevis and our main thrust right now would be in wind and solar. With respect to wind I know that we have been planning for quite a while a pilot project in the north of the island but that has run into problems from the residents. That falls under the aspect not under the technical and the scientific part but under the social. These things must be taken into account when you are going into renewable energy.
“I think when you have this showcase here we will be able to show the residents that are not too keen about it in Barbados that it is really not as noisy and burdensome as they think it might be,” he said.
While on Nevis, Mr. Gibbs met with Minister responsible for Natural Resources and the Environment Hon. Carlisle Powell, other members of the Nevis Island Administration and visited with officials of the UWI Open Campus at Marion Heights