The signing of a 4.1 million-euro financing agreement with the European Union (EU) is only Saba’s latest step in its development of renewable energy sources (see related story). Apart from solar parks, windmills and more battery storage are to ensure 89% of local electricity production is fossil fuel-free by the end of 2025.
That would be quite a feat, facilitated by the island forming part of the Caribbean Netherlands, just like St. Eustatius, where investments in green energy have also been made. The European Development Fund (EDF) along with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate EZK helped realise solar energy installations.
But Aruba and Curaçao too, as autonomous countries within the kingdom, were able to construct various windmill parks with mostly technology from the Netherlands. St. Maarten has the same constitutional status, but continues to lag far behind on this matter.
Granted, utilities provider GEBE remains very occupied with recovering from the devastating blow Hurricane Irma dealt to its infrastructure in September 2017 and the debilitating ransomware attack of last March. However, the time to delve into alternative energy is now.
Western Europe became painfully aware of its dependence on imported oil and gas due to the war between Russia and Ukraine. Incentives and support programmes are being created to change this, including by the Netherlands. Under these circumstances, a solid business case for renewable energy projects is likely to be met with greater enthusiasm than before from both the government in The Hague and European Committee (EC) in Brussels.
Especially as essential government-owned company with a virtual monopoly, GEBE needs to get onboard that train.