Green energy advances on Bonaire, Saba, and Statia

Solar Park, St. Eustatius. Image: via St. Maarten Daily Herald

From the St Maarten Daily Herald, a report on sustainable energy initiatives on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius:

St. Eustatius and Saba are doing well in the area of generating energy in a sustainable manner. In St. Eustatius 46 per cent of the electricity is sustainably generated and in Saba this percentage is currently at 20, but will increase to 40 by early 2019.

With 46 per cent of the electricity generated in a sustainable manner, St. Eustatius is the front-runner where it comes to green energy in the Caribbean Netherlands

It is the preference of Statia’s utility company Stuco to build more solar parks instead of constructing wind turbines, despite the several studies carried out in the area of wind energy. “This change in approach is due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria of September last year: there was damage to wind turbines on other islands whereas there was no damage to the Statia solar park,” stated Wiebes.

In Saba, the first solar park became operational in February this year, which provides 20 per cent of the island’s electricity needs. A second solar park will become operational early 2019, which will generate another 20 per cent.

In February 2018, Saba’s Executive Council gave the geothermal research company Teranov from Guadeloupe a three-year exclusive right to research the potential use of geothermal energy in Saba.

“It is unsure whether this will be successful, and the process requires a lot of time due to the necessary research and test drilling, but in case of success, it offers the opportunity for Saba to become 100 per cent sustainable in generating energy,” Wiebes said.

In Bonaire, all focus is on wind energy. Bonaire has several wind turbines that generate 11 megawatts, about 30 per cent of the electricity supply. However, this percentage is declining due to the increasing demand for electricity.

Due to this increase in demand, the Integrated Utility Plan of Bonaire’s electricity company WEB gives a higher priority to steady supply and affordability than to sustainability. There appears to be insufficient basis to implement Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) on the island.

Instead of solar energy and OTEC, Bonaire is opting to double its wind capacity in 2021 by constructing more wind turbines that generate an additional 12 megawatts. According to the research report “Renewable Energy Future for the Dutch Caribbean Islands Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba,” this is the most efficient way to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Read more in the full Daily Herald article.

[Image: via the Daily Herald]

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