Government committed to renewable energy development

The Government of Saint Lucia will pursue a suite of proposals for renewable energy projects, including the development of a wind farm.

The Government of Saint Lucia has expressed its commitment to continue to work toward the development of renewable energy on the island. This, after US-based firm WindTex Energy cancelled plans for a previously announced wind farm on the east coast, less than four months after the new administration gave its commitment to the developer to see the project to successful completion.

On Nov. 3, 2016, Sustainable Development Minister, Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert, facilitated discussions with the developer and other partners to ensure the smooth continuation of the multi-million dollar development of a 12 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Anse Cannot, Dennery. Also present at this meeting were the staff of the Renewable Energy Division, the Managing Director of Saint Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC), Trevor Louisy, and Steve DeWolf of WindTex. During the meeting, Minister Rigobert gave assurances of the government’s commitment to the project, stating that the proposed wind farm is in keeping with the new administration’s thrust to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

In addition, on Dec. 5, 2016, Steve DeWolf of WindTex made a presentation to the Cabinet of Ministers and was said to be warmly received, sparking further commitment from the entire Cabinet.

“It is therefore astonishing that the developer has decided to pull out of the proposed project. As a government we are deeply disappointed, however, the Government of Saint Lucia will pursue a suite of new proposals for renewable energy projects, which includes the development of a wind farm,” said Dr. Rigobert, adding that government will soon unveil several of these initiatives to the public.

The government, the minister said, is looking to give ordinary Saint Lucians the opportunity to invest in and become partners in the development of the project, as the new administration believes that Saint Lucians must be given the opportunity to help chart their country’s destiny.

The investments in renewable energy will be guided by the National Energy Transition Strategy (NETS), which was developed in partnership with LUCELEC last year. The NETS is a detailed energy roadmap, informed by independent technical analysis that paves the road for a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and equitable electricity sector using the island’s local resources.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Scheutzlich
    March 14, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    The Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP, a cooperation between CARICOM and the German Government from 2003 to 2016, based at CARPHA in St. Lucia) had assisted LUCELEC in prioritizing four (4) principally suited wind park sites in St. Lucia, among sites at Point de Caille, Sugar Mill, Dennery (close to the Prison area) and Troumasset area. During 2005 and 2011, CREDP together with LUCELEC had taken wind measurements at one of these favored sites: at Sugar Mill/ Rohan Estate in the south of the Island. The wind regime there has been proven to be of first class quality and subsequently, LUCELEC and the Government in charge at that time, has started to acquire the necessary land parcels at Sugar Mill though compulsory land acquisition that is legally covered by St. Lucian law. However, the required land being in private hands could for several reasons not be acquired, so that the project never left the design stage.
    Now, similar land issues seem to be one the reasons for the recent failed wind park development at Dennery. Another technical challenge, which, however, could be solved at design stage, is that no single wind turbine of 3 MW (as it was foreseen in the Dennery wind project) could (economically viable) be installed and maintained in St. Lucia, given the required large crane capacities, the existing access roads and topography in St. Lucia.
    Therefore, the commitment of the new government (as it was also the case with the former government with Minister Fletcher in charge of Energy) is highly necessary and welcome but will not lead to any wind development in St. Lucia if land ownership issues are not legally binding solved before any investment preparation like wind speed testing, micro siting, turbine/ capacity selection can start.
    Perhaps, a public tender for land lease contracts among ‘willing landowners’ may be a way in the right direction. But ‘business as usual’ will not attract any Wind Power investors anymore, be it Lucians or foreign investors, if the essential land issues cannot be legally agreed upon beforehand.

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