Official address in observance of November as Energy Month Delivered by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Infrastructure et al, Hon. Shawn Richards
Fellow citizens, good evening,
CARICOM member states will be observing the month of November as Energy Month. The Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Post, and Urban Development, through its Energy Unit and in collaboration with SKELEC and other institutions will be taking part in this observance. The theme for this year is “FROM DEPENDENCE TO RESILIENCE: ‘FUELLING’ OUR RECOVERY WITH SUSTAINABLE ENERGY“.
This theme seeks to highlight the significant role that energy must play in the attainment of sustainable development in the region and in our post-COVID-19 economic recovery, in particular. It says that to do so, the region’s energy supply must transition from dependence on imported fossil fuel to the use of indigenous resources.
In making the transition, however, we must ensure that the resilience of the energy sector to climate change is enhanced, while, at the same time, exploring and exploiting opportunities for climate abatement.
If this strategy is implemented, our energy supplies will become secure in pricing and availability, and efficiently delivered to consumers through resilient infrastructures and operations. This will lead to a future of greater economic growth, social advancement, and environmental preservation.
My ministry agrees with the message conveyed by this theme and has been busy making this transition. This is evident from the following projects and initiatives that are at various stages of development:
- A 33 MW solar farm with 44 MW of battery storage in the Basseterre valley, for which land-clearing has already started.
- Ongoing negotiations for the construction of a wind farm at Belle Vue
- The pursuit of geothermal energy
- The consideration of waste-to-energy
- The ongoing project to replace all of the existing street lamps, and playfields lighting on St. Kitts and Nevis with LED lamps.
- The construction of partially solar-powered desalination plants on St. Kitts and on Nevis by the United Arab Emirates
- The Ministry’s collaboration with the Department of Environment on the electric school bus initiative.
- The development of our human resources, in the energy sector, through training
- The implementation of a tariff to compensate consumers with renewable energy installations for energy that they feed into the grid
- The development of an integrated resource and resilience plan to guide SKELEC as it seeks to achieve the vision outlined in the theme
- The initiative by the Republic of China on Taiwan to assist the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in the development of renewable energy and its human resources in this area.
A number of activities are planned in observance of Energy Month. A door decoration competition among primary schools and a science competition among secondary schools are already underway. The primary schools have been asked to submit a video to social media of a classroom door at their school, which has been decorated with an energy-related theme. The high schools have been asked to submit a video demonstrating an energy-related project to social media. The deadlines for the submissions are Friday, November 5, and Friday, November 12 for the door decoration and the science project, respectively. The projects will be judged on November 19 and 26, respectively. In addition to first, second and third places being assigned by a panel of expert judges, a prize will be given to the school that the general public has judged to be the best project. You are encouraged to like your favorite project under the hashtag #SKNENERGYMONTH.
On Monday, November 29, the youth parliamentarians will debate the Federation’s energy policy and on Tuesday, November 30, an energy fair will be broadcast on ZIZ television and on social media. The energy fair will introduce several stakeholders in the energy sector, to the general public, and highlight their projects, products, and services.
Also on the agenda are a yoga session at the Flow grounds at 4:30 PM on Monday, November 1; appearances on SKELEC’s PowerTalk programme on ZIZ Radio on Wednesdays November 3 and 17; an appearance on ZIZ’s totally for Kids programme on Saturday, November 13; and a health walk on Saturday, November 20. The health walk will start at 5:30 AM at the cinema at Buckley’s and end at the third roundabout at Frigate Bay. SKELEC’s Sports and Social Club will be selling breakfast at the end of the walk.
I take this opportunity to ask each of you to support and participate in the activities of Energy Month and to support us in our attempt to make the energy sector sustainable and resilient. With these few words, I now declare Energy Month officially open.