Residents of St. Kitts and Nevis can look forward to a reduction in the cost of their electricity bill thanks to the construction of a Windfarm located at Belle Vue.
The North Star St. Kitts and Nevis Ltd. Windfarm is one means by which the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is working toward ensuring that citizens continue to have a decent quality of life.
Specialist connected with the Windfarm Project Mr. Malcolm Knight explained to the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service that once the Windfarm is operational, it would become particularly helpful during the two peak periods when the electricity use is at its highest and the Power Plant is at its maximum power generation of 24 megawatts.
Initially, the intention is to set up 10 windmill towers, of which each will generate one megawatt of power. This total 10 megawatts of power will provide 25 percent of the energy needed to power the grid, which is the island-wide electrical network of St. Kitts. There are future plans to erect an additional five windmill towers which would bring the wind energy up to just under 40 percent of the grid.
Minister responsible for Technology Honourable Nigel Carty headed an Energy Committee established in 2006 to investigate renewable energy alternatives.
He said that it had been identified that there was capacity for 30 to 50 percent wind energy to efficiently supplement the diesel-generated power supply of the Federation. This translates into less money spent purchasing diesel to run the Power Plant, which in turn would result in a reduced fuel surcharge cost on electricity bills.
When asked about the equipment?s resistance to hurricane force winds, Mr. Knight said that the type of equipment to be purchased was particularly designed for the Caribbean. He elaborated that other islands in the region are pursuing the wind renewable energy alternative, and so manufacturers are including hurricane resistance technology in their designs.
Vernon Viera who is serving as Broker of North Star relayed that the Chairman of the company was Mark Tippit and it came about due to a merger of two companies. He informed that the windmill towers were being designed so that they are collapsible within an hour and a half in the approach of a hurricane. He also informed that initially US$250,000 to US300,000 was being spent on erecting the two meteorological towers on two test sites, including transportation costs. The Attorney further noted that the windmill towers were being constructed by a French Company and final costing had not yet been determined.
Minister of State, Carty said that St. Kitts and Nevis is in line to receive funding to construct the Windfarm due to a process called Carbon Credits which is a mechanism developed under the Kyoto Protocol.
By means of this arrangement, countries that are undertaking renewable energy projects can access funds made available by the fines paid by other countries that continue to emit carbons into the atmosphere. Minister Carty explained that the Federation?s soon-to-be-use of geothermal and wind energy would prevent the atmosphere from receiving a certain amount of carbons that can be measured in tonnes. He said that tonnage is given a cost, and it is this cost on which the fines are based.
Mr. Knight elaborated that there are several additional benefits that would come with the establishment of the Windfarm. Not only would local students be educated on the technology, but there was the possibility of establishing an interactive programme with at least one school in the United States to enable students to exchange knowledge about wind-energy. At the tertiary level, students taking the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE) Environment Science subject can obtain practical skills from the Windfarm. The aspect of the service industry was also highlighted in that the Windfarm was seen as a prospective site for tourists to visit. He also encouraged community involvement noting that the farmers in the area could work their lands in the same vicinity of the soon-to-be-erected windmills.