Water solutions to feature in budget
BASSETERRE – The Government of National Unity is moving progressively with finding solutions to the high cost of energy that is contingent on the use of costly fossil fuels that are environmentally detrimental, while at the same time finding remedies to the adverse effects of climate change that has resulted in lower levels of rainfall resulting in critical shortages of water supply affecting several communities.
Financial Secretary Hilary Hazel, commenting on the 2017 Budget Estimates discussions on October 14, said the government is looking at energy efficiency.
“We are looking at an exciting project in the energy sector. We are partnering with the Caribbean Development Bank to look at an energy efficiency programme for public lighting,” said Hazel.
“We have the intention to be a greener economy and these are some of the critical steps, small but critical, that we have to invest in to make sure the public comes along in terms of its thinking because there are things that individual homeowners can do.”
She also said that the Government is planning to do an audit of all public buildings to see whether or not they can be transformed to bring about some cost savings.
In May of this this year during the opening ceremony of the three-day Regional Geothermal Forum at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, Ian Patches Liburd, Minister of Public Infrastructure, said that having greater access to cleaner and affordable energy “can only translate into reduced cost for the hotel and manufacturing sectors, other businesses, and most importantly for consumers”.
Minister Liburd said that currently there is a proposal for a 10 megawatt solar farm on St Kitts, which is a power purchase agreement between the St Kitts Electricity Company Limited (SKELEC) and a private investor, while adding that the development of a 5 megawatt wind farm is also being finalized.
The exploration of geothermal energy started in St Kitts earlier this year by Teranov, an engineering Guadeloupe-based company. The results of this exploration are to be made known to the Government. There are also two solar farms on St Kitts: one at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport, and the other alongside the roundabout on the Frigate Bay Road.
Hazel said there would be a project to look at the augmentation of the water supply.
“We have the project that we will be looking at exploring the augmentation of water supply with the construction or the drilling of new wells that would continue from this year into 2017. Added to that, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has also put on the cards on the table, in a very formal way, the possibility for funding to be provided for a desalination plant that would help tremendously in sustaining the provision of water in the event that we continue to experience drought conditions.”
This year several communities have had to undergo the rationing of water because of drought conditions. New pipes were laid in Mansion Village to bring relief to the Phillips and Lodge communities providing about 150 000 gallons of water.
In April, the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) donated EC $620 000 to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to help bring relief to consumers impacted by the ongoing drought-like condition, while the Federal Government provided over EC $600 ,000 to the Water Department to ensure that the water situation in the areas of Mansion – Phillips – Molineux can be significantly improved. (SKNIS)