New policy envisions 50 percent energy from alternative sources

POSTED: 09/13/12 1:08 PM

St. Maarten – Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility for the Vromi-Ministry William Marlin outlined aspects of his vision for an energy policy for the island yesterday at the weekly Council of Ministers press briefing. Marlin is still to make a formal presentation of the policy.

“For too long St.Maarten people have been plagued with a high fuel clause on their bill. This does not mean that I am making an announcement that the fuel clause will disappear but for 100 percent the electricity on St.Maarten is generated through diesel engines that use heavy fuel. This is not only polluting our environment but it is also very costly,” Marlin said.

The new energy policy will see electricity on St. Maarten being generated by renewal and green energy. 20 to 25 percent of the electricity on St.Maarten will come from alternative sources in the initial stages, Marlin said, adding that within another year from its implementation, 50 percent of the electricity St.Maarten consumes will be from alternative sources.

Close to 30 companies submitted proposals to government to supply the alternative sources of energy and the government is now trying to narrow down a long list of prospects to a more manageable group. This group will be invited to a private meeting to continue in the process. No public tender process will be conducted, Marlin stated.

“The waste to energy plant which will be constructed on the present landfill. It will take all our garbage and through a process, they will do away with our garbage and clean up our garbage dump so that the fill that is there will be become useful, a proper extension of Philipsburg. From the gasification or incineration, electricity will be generated.”

Marlin said that the government submitted a proposal to the management of utility company N.V GEBE to consider a power purchase agreement to buy the renewable energy generated from the landfill.

“It means that GEBE will be getting 8 megawatts of electricity that is will no longer use heavy fuel to generate.”

Additionally, the terms of reference for a bid by invitation for a wind farm on St.Maarten  is currently being drafted.

Within the next week, the government will also sign an agreement with a local company to start its solar energy policy.

This will see the 48 solar panels with monitors being placed on the roof of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library.  Information will also be provided to the public on alternative energy on specific dates at the library.

“We are replacing them with alternative lighting. At the end of the day it will be more cost effective for government and therefore reduce the amount of fuel GEBE needs to burn in order to generate electricity.”

Vying for the street lighting contract are four companies, three of which offer LED lights while other provides a new type of technology.

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