CASTRIES, St Lucia, Friday August 17, 2018 – St Lucia now has a 3 megawatt (MW) solar farm that is expected to meet five per cent of the island’s electricity demands.
The facility at La Tourney, Vieux Fort, at the southern end of the island, was officially opened by Former United States President Bill Clinton, St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, former President Figueres of Costa Rica and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) last week.
The project is expected to change St Lucia’s energy landscape significantly and provide the impetus for more renewable energy initiatives, particularly in achieving the goal of getting 35 per cent electrical generation from renewal sources by 2020, a government statement said.
Managing Director of the St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) Trevor Louisy said it’s 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,” he said.
Approximately 20 million gallons of fuel is used to produce electricity annually. The 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 President Clinton, provided technical assistance for the project. The foundation has been supporting the Caribbean in other areas such as confronting HIV/AIDS in particular.
Clinton said 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,” he said.
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.
Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Energy and Labour, Stephenson King said it was because of the impact of climate change, which has resulted in destructive storms, that successive governments had 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”.