June 9, 2015
Former national footballer proposes that SVG go solar

One former national Under-20 footballer Kareem Howard believes that St Vincent and the Grenadines should pursue solar as an alternative source of energy, instead of geothermal.

“I believe solar is the future,” Howard said in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT recently.{{more}}

“All people from since the human race existed have always been fascinated by the sun – Ancient Egyptians, Aztecs …Our generation of human beings has finally tapped in and has made it affordable with advancement in technology; we can now use this energy… The sun powers the universe,” Howard advanced.

In advancing his cause, Howard questioned, “Why are we going to continue digging and destroying the earth looking for oil when the sun is right there?

“It is a means for not just St Vincent, but the entire Caribbean to come independent… We depend on everyone else to provide for us… It will be great as a country to have our own energy source… It would keep lot money here on the island instead of importing millions of dollars of oil every year… It starts there,” he noted.

Howard gave his experiences while in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, where the use of solar energy is prevalent, despite the presence of an abundance of oil.

“They are not using it, but are selling it to places like here,” Howard added.

Earlier this year, the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines secured US$15 million in concessional funding from the project facility of the International Renewable Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) towards its development of geothermal energy.

It was revealed that some 80 countries around the world had applied for support from IRENA and ADFD, which had made available US$57 million for the five renewable projects in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Argentina, Cuba, Iran and Mauritania.

“The geothermal is great and there are a lot of island nations that have volcanic activity that are looking into geothermal… The issue with them is, as you are seeing, is a lot of testing, a lot of investigation that take years and years to ensure that your heat source is stable and establish a plan and that you bring that technology to the island and integrate it into the landscape and integrate it into your power system … So, it’s a big infrastructural project; we are talking about tens of billions of dollars of investment of a country’s money, compared with putting a solar panel on a roof,” Howard concluded.

Howard, who majored in Geography, specializing in Geographic Information Systems, was born in the US of a Vincentian father.

He currently works in the oil and gas industry as a cartographer, mapping out oil fields and was a member of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Under-20 football training squad which reached the finals of the Caribbean Football Union competition in 2009 and the CONCACAF play-off with Honduras.