The Daily Herald writes that use of geothermal energy on the Windward Islands has come a step closer. The four Parliaments of the Kingdom agreed on Friday to involve the Dutch Government in geothermal research on St. Eustatius and Saba, which will benefit St. Maarten as well. St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba have taken the initiative to research and develop the use of geothermal energy, which is energy generated through the warmth of the earth, as an alternative to fossil energy.
St. Eustatius and Saba have geothermal energy, but because of their small scale, it is interesting for them to have St. Maarten participate in this initiative. St. Maarten, in turn, would benefit from the lower energy prices.
The utility companies Saba Electric Company NV and GEBE St. Maarten have already signed an agreement with the Netherlands Technical Research Organisation TNO for a study to look at the technical, financial and economic feasibility to explore geothermal energy in St. Eustatius and Saba, whereby St. Maarten would be able to make use of this green energy.
Statia’s utilities company STUCO hasn’t signed the agreement yet, but is expected to do so soon.
(Red.: The TNO-report made of the study on Saba and written in 2012 has been put on internet in 2013 by René Caderius van Veen and can be downloaded from www.sabaweb.nl/TNO 2012 R10371-final.pdf )
The new TNO study will last one-and-a-half to two years, explained Member of the St. Maarten Parliament Roy Marlin (Democratic Party) during a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO on Wednesday, when (alternative) energy was on the agenda. Prior to the IPKO, Marlin was in contact with Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman and Member of the First Chamber Senator Frank van Kappen, both of the liberal democratic VVD party to discuss the geothermal energy project and to secure the support of the Dutch.
The Agreement List signed on Friday, the last day of the four-day IPKO, included two paragraphs on energy. It was agreed that the Dutch delegation would ask Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp to actively participate in the TNO research on geothermal energy for the Windward Islands. Marlin lauded this agreement. “I am very glad that the Netherlands will be asked to participate in the TNO research. This is about cooperation, getting all noses in the same direction, so ultimately our people will benefit.” He said consumers would feel the effects of lower energy prices in the long term.
The four Parliaments also agreed to ask their respective governments to have geothermal energy put on the agenda of next year’s Kingdom Conference on Curacao, with the objective to come to a protocol of cooperation within the Kingdom. Aruba and Curaçao are interested in sharing the experiences of the Windward Islands with geothermal energy. Member of the Aruba Parliament and Bikker of the PDR party and his colleague Glenn Sulvaran of Curaçao said on Wednesday that they would like to stay informed of the process to generate geothermal energy on the Windward Islands, since this might be beneficial to the Leeward Islands.
Sulvaran said that geothermal energy provided a cheaper and more sustainable source of energy. He said there were a lot of benefits to be had in cooperation between the islands in the area of alternative, green energy. It would result in greater efficiency and large- scale benefits. “Doing things together will save a lot of money, which also benefits the people of our islands,” he said. Aruba and Curaçao already make use of wind energy, generated by large windmills and solar energy. The two countries are already working together in the area of alternative energy. Curaçao wants to extend that cooperation to the entire Kingdom. The Curaçao delegation presented a proposal on paper for cooperation within the Kingdom in the area of energy, water and electricity facilities. Cooperation was suggested in the areas of organisational development, technical and sustainable development, and finances.