Green Energy- the way to go
Our Readers' Opinions
August 4, 2023

Green Energy- the way to go

Editor: Of late, social media is replete with memes depicting disconnections, and ‘warnings’ from Vinlec; even a cartoon in one local newspaper recently sheds a humorous side to a serious situation. With the upwards spiral in fuel costs globally, one thing will continue to happen …. Our electricity bills will forever be rising ! This is a major issue of concern for all consumers, so please take note !

The move by Vinlec to introduce solar at some of their generation sites and buildings is indeed commendable, but is this renewable ‘plug in‘ to the national grid reflected on our bills …? I doubt. I will need the scientific data to show that the solar installations, save in Union Island, are or have been contributing to the reduction of consumers’ monthly bills.

The major concern for all consumers is the ‘fuel surcharge’, which in recent times is consistently higher than the basic energy cost, but why ? The answer is a simple question … who pays for the electricity used for street lights, at all primary and secondary schools, police stations, hospitals, clinics and government offices? You and I.

With the influx of multi-room hotels, one would have thought that all these facilities would have been powered by a renewable energy source. So instead of reducing our carbon footprint, we are actually adding the unpleasant effects of global warming. But it isn’t too late. Developers in Canouan and elsewhere can retrofit their operations and so help reduce the global carbon footprint, and tourism facilities currently under construction need to seriously factor in that development or face high monthly bills from Vinlec. There are also potential visitors who will be inclined to stay in a hotel that is powered by ‘green energy’ that is also ‘cannabis friendly’. Yes, that’s the trend, cannabis friendly hotels.

Then again, since all schools, police stations, hospitals and clinics use ‘free’ electricity that is paid by you and me, then the logically correct thing to do is to cover all these buildings with solar panels and connect them to the national grid; hopefully that will balance out the high fuel surcharge that is now a burden on our monthly bills and the cause for the multiple disconnections going on island wide.

It doesn’t stop there. In Dominica, street lights, from the Douglas Charles Airport to Roseau, and from the capital along the West coast are either powered by solar, wind, or a combination of both. The recent change to LED street lights in SVG though there is a marginal reduction in Kilowatt hours consumed, if they had moved to solar powered LED lights, the burden would have been currently less on consumers. Why couldn’t we borrow a good page from the Dominica experience ?

Here is where we can use our diplomatic relations to seek partnerships with countries which can assist our development in renewable energy technology.

All of the homes disconnected are poor people for whom food is more important than electricity. Today, electricity is central to our being, nothing electronic can work without it. But I want to say here, since renewable energy is ‘free’, it should also be a human right. Children need at least a light and a USB outlet to power their portable computers so they can do their homework. All low income housing projects should be powered from renewable energy and be provided with at least a 1000 gallon water tank.

Let the retrofitting begin !

Donald De Riggs.