Opening of the Solar Farm
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Opening of the Solar Farm

Castries, Saint Lucia Published date: October 18, 2018

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A new $20 million utility scale renewable energy project is a major achievement for Saint Lucia.
The facility which was recently opened at La Tourney, Vieux Fort is expected to meet approximately 5% of Saint Lucia’s electricity demand.

Managing Director of the St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited, Trevor Louisy reveals the project is part of government’s new policy to facilitate the use of renewable energy. “For the country, the solar farm aligns neatly with the National Energy Transition Strategy that seeks to provide a blueprint for a new energy future for Saint Lucia; an energy future that is focused on developing renewal energy resources and how best to integrate the optimum mix of renewal energies into the national grid, at least cost, without compromising the stability and reliability that we’re accustomed to,” The Managing Director says.

Approximately 20 million gallons of fuel is used to produce electricity annually. The new three megawatt (MW) solar farm is expected to reduce the volume of fuel purchased by about 300,000 gallons annually.

GRUPOTEC, an international firm with extensive, worldwide experience in developing solar plants, undertook the engineering, procurement and construction of the facility. The Rocky Mountain Institute and global energy and engineering advisory firm DNV GL is assisting with project development, bid evaluation and contract negotiations.

The Clinton Climate Initiative, brainchild of the 42nd US President, provided technical assistance for the project. The foundation has been supporting the Caribbean in other areas such as confronting HIV/AIDS in particular.

The former United States President, William J Clinton was in attendance of the opening ceremony of the Solar Farm. The 42nd US president says the responsibility of combatting climate change rests on all countries. “We live in an interdependent world. Nobody causes climate change alone, nobody is raising the sea levels alone and no one will fix it alone. The same is true of global poverty and of all the rising conflicts. The truth is that the future lies in what I would call inclusive nationalism. Be proud of who you are and where you’re from and what your roots are and still know that diverse groups make better decisions than totally homogenous ones,” Clinton says.

Construction of the solar farm began in November 2017. The facility began feeding the grid in April of 2018. Nearly 15,000 panels will generate approximately seven million units of electricity for the year.

Approval of the National Energy Policy in 2010 provided some of the impetus for the integration of renewal energy.

Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Energy and Labour, Hon. Stephenson King reminds ceremony’s audience of the dangers faced as a result of climate change. “The events of Hurricane Thomas, the Christmas eve Trough, Hurricanes Maria and Erma, are all grim reminders of the urgency of climate action by all, especially the bigger and more developed nations. It is with these considerations in mind, that successive governments have resolved to transform the island’s energy sector to achieve greater energy efficiency, decrease dependency on fossil fuels, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and greater indigenous energy penetration to promote social and economic development with minimal harm to the natural environment,” The Minister says.

Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Allen Chastenet delivered the final speech during the ceremony. During which he notes his satisfaction of the policy and infrastructural framework undertaken by the government of Saint Lucia. “I’m very pleased that we are also on the plans for utilizing our geothermal resources and following a prefeasibility study for the geothermal project, a draft environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) report for the drilling sites we’re working on the legislative and regulatory framework for introducing and integrating geothermal energy into the domestic power system,” The Prime Minister says.

The solar farm project is expected to change Saint Lucia’s energy landscape significantly and provide the impetus for more renewable energy initiatives, particularly in achieving the goal of getting 35% electrical generation from renewal sources by 2020.

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      Opening of the Solar Farm

      Castries, Saint Lucia

      GIS

      Published date: October 18, 2018

      Views: 134

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