Saturday , May 27 2023

Agreement reached about electricity companies

Saba and St. Eustatius Commissioners of Energy Chris Johnson and Koos Sneek, respectively, also met with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation EL&I to discuss the progress of the division of NV GEBE during their visit to The Hague for consultations with the Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations.

Saba and Statia have come to an agreement with the ministry that will allow both islands to finalise discussions with the government of St. Maarten and with GEBE to establish their own electricity companies separate from GEBE.

The agreement is also seen as a guarantee of reliable and affordable electricity supply to Saba and Statia after the division of GEBE. This always has been a prime condition for both islands. The establishment of separate electricity companies for Saba and Statia was agreed on in October 2011. The Executive Councils of Saba and Statia and the Ministry of EL&I have agreed to a transition period of 18 months, to start after the finalisation of the action plan, which is to be drafted by the transition manager no later than April. After the transition period, the new companies will be responsible for the production and distribution of energy on Saba and Statia.

Where possible, the ministry and executive councils will be setting (financial) conditions for production and distribution, all fitting within the current legal framework. The initiative for the establishment of new electricity companies will lie with the Executive Councils, with the support of EL&I. The actual division of GEBE will start as soon as the new companies on Saba and Statia have been established and are able to operate independently and costeffectively.

With regard to Saba, the ministry will make funds available for investment in wind turbines, as well as for the relocation of the plant and renovation of the oil storage facility. This should be instrumental in establishing a cost-effective company and in promoting sustainable energy development. The ministry will support the Statia Executive Council with investigations into the possibility for NuStar to contribute to the supply of energy. Depending on the outcome of this, it will be looked into whether an investment in wind turbines would be feasible.

A delegation comprising representatives of the Ministry of EL&I and a wind energy expert will be visiting Bonaire, Saba and Statia no later than April to work out these decisions and to make further arrangements. The second phase of a feasibility study into the possibilities for the generation of wind energy in Saba and Statia, including wind measurements, will start shortly.

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