Efficiency and renewables key in draft energy policy

POSTED: 02/27/12 3:53 PM

Minister Heyliger: “Twenty percent renewable resources by 2015”

St. Maarten – The draft energy policy for country St. Maarten moves away from using diesel #2 and heavy fuel oil for power production, Minister Theo Heyliger (Public Housing, Urban Development, Environment and Infrastructure) said in a statement issued yesterday. The policy also focuses on the introduction of an energy efficiency program and pursues improved efficiency at utilities company GEBE.

“The government Maarten recognizes that affordable electricity and other energy sources such as transportation, energy intensive enterprises as well as for cooking are of vital importance for the country’s population as well as for its national economy.

The current energy situation is fully dependent on petroleum products, which have unpredictable price volatility and which are burdening the environment with greenhouse gases and other air pollutants,” the statement read.

The energy policy’s goal is to ensure a sustainable, affordable and environmental friendly energy situation.

In this context, the policy opens the way for renewable energy options like wind farms or solar panel arrays; it seeks to enable households and commercial clients to install small renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. Tax incentives and attractive loans for individual consumers would be also considered.

A study would also be made of the impact of introducing smart grid concepts for an improved electric supply chain from the power plant to its customers.

Next to renewable energy options, introduction of LNG should also be studied. The impact on tariffs as well as on the environmental advantages looks interesting according to the draft policy document. The LNG study may also cover natural gas supply for household cooking gas and for the transportation sector.

Sint Maarten would also look at whether it could benefit from inter-island cable connections that are currently being studied from Nevis/St. Kitts up to Puerto Rico, which could enable power delivery from geothermal sources in Nevis as well as power delivery from Puerto Rico. Sint Maarten would also look at the possible purchasing of geothermal energy from Saba by means of a submarine cable connection.

Sint Maarten also continues to seek an attractive waste to energy solution.

“These are some of the things that would be looked into and they part and parcel of our draft energy policy plan. We want to initiate a supply side energy efficiency program to improve fuel efficiency at GEBE with five per cent after two and a half years.

“Preparations for a Green Energy Plan are already underway. We need to assess our green policy. The objective is to have 20 per cent of the electricity demand of the country generated with renewable energy sources by the year 2015 and by the year 2020, this should be 50 per cent,” Minister Heyliger said yesterday.

Mid-January 2012 kicked off the international year of sustainable energy for all, and governments, the private sector, and civil society, have been called upon to help expand energy access, improve efficiency and increase the use of renewables.

“The international year represents building a new energy future by harnessing the power of technology and innovation. This draft policy sets us on a course to making Sint Maarten energy efficient,” Heyliger said.

Globally, one person in five still lacks access to modern electricity and twice that number – three billion people – rely on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste for cooking and heating.

The new international initiative seeks to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.


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