St Lucia is among Caribbean nations that have committed to explore more renewable sources of energy.
This comes from the signing of an agreement between Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony and owner of the Carbon War Room Sir Richard Branson at Moskito Island in the British Virgin Islands on February 6.
Carbon War Room is a non-profit organization which harnesses the power of entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change and create a post-carbon economy.
The countries which have already taken steps toward developing the new energy projects, under the Ten Island Challenge, include St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands.
The Ten Island Challenge was launched at the Rio+20 Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 by Sir Richard Branson and Christiana Figueres, executive director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
It provides a platform for progressive island governments to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels “through the acceleration of commercial opportunities on islands” by attracting investments and technologies in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Carbon War Room will allow St. Lucia to unlock significant technical and legal support for its geothermal development programme, the mapping of its energy ecosystem, the development of a utility-scale solar-photovoltaic facility, and the implementation of a waste-to-energy project, among other energy-related initiatives.
Renewable energy targets
When he assumed the head of government post in 2011, Anthony committed to increasing the production of electricity from renewable sources like solar, wind, and geothermal. This would help St Lucia meet 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by the year 2020, according to him.
Prime Minister Anthony said he is convinced the country is capable of meeting and surpassing those goals, and according to him has requested the energy minister to increase this target to 35% by 2020. According to a press statement, government will intensify discussions with private investors and developers in the geothermal and wind energy sectors with a view to making concrete steps toward meeting that target.
This will also complement the government’s efforts in developing the island’s geothermal resource. A team from the World Bank visited St Lucia two weeks ago upon the invitation of the government to help advance the geothermal development programme.
Energy Minister Dr. James Fletcher and Chief Energy, Science and Technology Officer Judith Ephraim accompanied the prime minister in the BVI.