The argument has been, while the government has shown an over-zealous attitude to do everything and to clear all potential obstacles to attract and facilitate such foreign investments, too many delay tactics and mountains of barriers are placed at the doorsteps of those from St. Kitts and Nevis, who are said to be treated as second class investors, in their homeland.
The latest of such examples is being connected to recent comments made by Prime Minister Douglas that while on his recent visit to India, he was making efforts to source investors that could deliver renewable sources of energy.
In the release that was issued then by his press office, the Prime Minister was quoted as saying that he met with representatives of the renewable energy business community, where he emphasized that “energy consumption from fossil fuel is unsustainable, especially in a small developing country that has an abundance of sun and wind throughout the year and great potential in geothermal.”
“Generating electricity from fossil fuel is far too costly, said Dr. Douglas, for both domestic and commercial consumers and the government is therefore tasked to find credible and urgent solutions.”
He also said the Federation’s solid waste disposal must be sustainable “given our limited land fill spaces. Solutions which are sustainable have to be found, and there is the ‘urgency of now’ in finding these solutions.” In light of this the St. Kitts and Nevis leader explained that he and his delegation had gone to India “On a mission to find partners, partners who can help us resolve some of these issues now.”
However, despite these efforts by the Prime Minister in India to source Indian investors, there are new claims that a local company, comprised of Kittitian investors, has been ignored for almost a year, as it seeks to implement such a project in the country; though in India Dr. Douglas stated that there was the “urgency of now”, when it comes to how soon his government would like to find new solutions.
Now MiyVue.com has been reliably informed that since July last year, (2011), a Kittitian company known as NAANOVO-NICOL ENERGY LTD, or NICOL Int., Basseterre, St. Kitts, submitted a proposal to government to build, own, and control the operations and Transfer of a 7 MW Waste Waste to Energy (WTE) Plant, to be located at the Solid Waste Landfill site, in Conaree, St. Kitts.
It should be noted however, that though this proposal has been sitting on the desk of government from since last summer, and with no response to the local investors being made, the Prime Minister was in India telling potential investors there that he would like assistance in the “creation of a state of the art modern plant, possibly to be located at the current land fill site on the island of St. Kitts, to turn solid waste into electricity and other by-products.” The exact same proposal already made by the Kittitian Company.
The press office a few weeks ago however, did say that “It is expected that over the next few weeks the relevant agencies and departments of government will continue to receive and process proposals in these areas of development investment, and will eventually be guided in its decisions with appropriate feasibility studies and in-country discussions with interested parties.” However, the proposal of the St. Kitts Company continues to sit someone’s desk.
Efforts have been made to obtain follow up meetings with various government senior officials and ministers but again, after some nine (9) months of waiting, no one has responded to provide an audience. However, it is understood that the local investors sometime last year, met with a technical team in the Ministry of Energy.
The delay is troubling to some, given that government stands to benefit tremendously, would not be required to put in any funds and even though the local company has already secured its own financing and partnered with leading international experts to make the project viable.
The total investment to be made by the local firm and its partners, and which has already been sourced, is approximately $US 52 Million, with seed funds of £10,000 Pounds Sterling already paid for a feasibility study.
It would therefore appear that NICOL Int. has already done its homework and found the financing and is ready to go, but the only hold back is government approval.
NICOL Int. has signed Joint Venture Agreements, with Naanovo UK Ltd the leading Waste to Energy international company which has patented the process of re-injecting the lost steam back into the steam chamber to produce a total of 7MW of Electrical power at the plug. Naanovo-NICOL Energy Ltd. has proposed to the Government of St Kitts, a BOOT (Build Own Operate and Transfer) arrangement of a modular plant for a period of twenty five years (25yrs) towards cost recovery after which the project will be turned over to the Government of the day Free of charge.
According to our sources St Kitts and Nevis collects enough garbage to sustain the 24hrs of operation of this modular plant, which also has two other by-products: Bottled water (38,000 liters’ per Hr) and the raw materials blended with cement to make Building blocks (7000 per day). The resulting materials can also be used in road paving. This project has an almost zero effect on the environment. It is already proposed that should there be a short fall of garbage stock; a plan is in place to take stocks from calling cruise ships to the ports of Basseterre. There is already high interest from major cruise lines such as Celebrity/Royal Caribbean, Thompson Cruises and TUI Cruises, sources have told MiyVue.com.
NICOL Int. confirms that this project will enhance the garbage collection and management services thereby assisting to keep the islands clean, and beautiful. It is to be noted that the proposed technology employed, is been promulgated in all the OECS countries and this is already enshrined in the signed Memorandum of Understanding, (MOU) by NICOL Int. St Kitts. The intention is to eventually spread the technology and investment in other Caribbean countries but St. Kitts will be used as the “jump off island” and can be considered as the demonstration plant. Interest from other countries has been extremely positive, said the sources.
Other direct benefits to St. Kitts will be the creation of a minimum of 150-200 extra jobs during construction and 50 during plant operation.
The Project will save Government the arduous task of finding millions to construct a new landfill cell to replace the expired one here in St Kitts. Even the Solid Waste management Corporation has already admitted that in any case, landfills are no longer considered sustainable and very soon, a new landfill will be needed for the island.
Viability studies have been completed and have evidentially supported this project as the most sustainable form of Alternative Energy for St Kitts. In its first year of operation Naanovo-Nicol Energy Ltd will, from its water supply, make water available- delivered to farmers at minimal cost. What the company has asked of government is no cash input but the following:
- 3-5 Acres of land at the landfill for plant construction.
- Tax free for the BOOT life of all materials for the project and plant operation
- A signed Power Purchase Agreement for the BOOT Life of the project
- A signed BOOT agreement
These are all to be negotiated and Naanovo-Nicol Energy Ltd has already sent supporting and relevant documents to the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Health via SWMC, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Sustainable Development.
A similar plant is known to exist in Sweden.