THE VALLEY, Anguilla, Wednesday April 04, 2012 – The rapid escalation in the cost of electricity has prompted the Anguilla government to craft a renewable energy project in the hope of providing reliable, environmentally more sustainable electricity at lower cost.
Speaking in parliament, Minister of Utilities Evan Gumbs said, “Our exclusive reliance on conventional energy sources, i.e. diesel fuel, is the primary reason for the high prices we pay for electricity. If our dependence on diesel fuel is reduced, then we will see a correspondent decrease in the price of electricity.”
Government has responded to this challenge by approving an Alternative Renewable Energy Bill, establishing an Alternative Energy Committee and an Anguilla Renewable Energy Office (AREO).
Working through the United Kingdom’s Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), it has also hired Castalia Strategic Advisors, a Washington DC-based consultancy with expertise in renewable energy planning and development.
AREO is proposing the construction of a wind farm to provide Anguilla with clean, renewable power. Since the scarcity of fresh water has been a longstanding problem for the country, AREO chairman David Carty sees the additional potential for the renewable energy generated to produce fresh water by reverse osmosis.
That fresh water could then be provided to local farmers at little or no cost, according to Carty.
As Carty noted, Anguilla is not the only Caribbean island being forced to come to grips with the twin challenges of rising fossil fuel costs and climate change.
The European Investment Bank is helping finance a feasibility and planning study of a geothermal energy project in Dominica and construction of an inter-island transmission line to Martinique and Guadeloupe. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, a wind farm is due to be commissioned in Puerto Rico.