November 26, 2013

Reducing cost of energy is a super priority of NDP – Eustace

President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace says that Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and his people have no credibility whatsoever on energy matters and are now taking the country into dangerous waters.{{more}}

According to Eustace, reducing the cost of energy is a super priority of the NDP.

“It impacts everything: cost of living for all the members of our population, particularly the poor and it is equally critical to the cost of doing business and therefore creating jobs. Whether it be commercial or industrial businesses or your home, energy must be used, and in St Vincent and the Grenadines energy is costly,” Eustace said on Sunday, while addressing the party’s 37th annual convention.

Eustace told Sunday’s gathering that mechanisms have to be found to reduce the cost of energy for the benefit of our population, and to improve the competitiveness of businesses.

“I cannot say it enough. As you are aware, hundreds of people in SVG are at this moment without electricity, because they have been cut off by VINLEC and this causes much hardship for the poor and the not so poor. For the last 12 years, Gonsalves has been talking about alternative energy and cheaper energy and has accomplished nothing,” he stated.

“The reality is that, when Gonsalves took office in 2001, a unit of electricity cost about 68 cents. Today electricity is $1.05 cents a unit – almost double what it was!”

Stating that one of the ways to reduce the cost of energy is to develop our renewable energy sources, Eustace asked, “What has Gonsalves done over 12 years to develop renewable energy?

“Nothing,” he said, answering his own question.

Eustace also reminded party supporters of a plan for a wind farm here, which had been announced by the St Vincent Electricity Service, VINLEC, in 2008.

“Five years later, which is more than long enough for a wind farm, we have no wind farm, but in the same period, wind farms; have been going up all over the Caribbean, most recently in Nevis, which now generates six per cent of its electricity from wind.

“They have not increased our hydro output, which we know can be increased.

“What they are actually doing now is spending a whole set of money on solar PV that will have no impact on the price of electricity in this country. It will amount to a saving of about twelve dollars a year on a consumer’s electricity bill. That’s a joke.

“The facts on the ground show that Gonsalves and his people have no credibility on energy matters,” the Opposition Leader stated.

He also questioned the approach taken to exploring the potential for geothermal energy here.