Montserrat has set a goal to be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2020. To this end, the Hon. Minister of Communications, Works & Labour (MCWL) Paul Lewis gathered their development partners for a one-day workshop to plan the way forward.
The Montserrat Knowledge Exchange Workshop and Development Partners Meeting was held on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.
Present were local stakeholders from the utility company and other government ministries. Also attending were representatives from the Department for International Development (DfID), CARICOM, the European Union, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Carbon War Room, and the Clinton Foundation.
Beverly Mendes, Permanent Secretary in MCWL and also chair of the board of Montserrat Utilities Ltd. said the company has set itself the challenge to be the “greenest utility provider in the Caribbean.” Despite having the highest utility rates in the region and currently being 100% dependent on fossil fuels, she said they were up for the challenge.
Hon. Min of Agriculture Claude Hogan applauded his colleague for the strides made in pulling together a formidable team to help the island reach its goal. He said having new and cheaper forms of energy would have significant benefits to the agriculture and housing sectors in his portfolio.
The vision for the island would be to have the geothermal energy project up and running by 2018 providing up to 3MW of power for the island. A study has already been completed on the potential of a 1MW solar farm to add further supply.
Energy Specialist with CARICOM Dr Devon Gardner outlined the current state of play in the region as it related to executing a sustainable energy action plan. He said creating indigenous energy sectors will drive economic growth. “People go where there is reliable, low cost energy.”
Dr Andreas Tauber of GIZ said the future of energy in Montserrat could include the island becoming a supplier of hydrogen to other islands. He said the possibilities of the ferry and transport services being powered by renewable energy were all within reach.
During the workshop, the Montserrat Energy Policy (MEP) and the Montserrat Sustainable Energy Action Plan (MSEAP) were discussed.
David Thomson (MUL), Dr Devon Gardner (CARICOM), Mrs Beverly Mendes (PS MCWL), Hon. Min Paul Lewis (MCWL), Hon. Min Claude Hogan (MALTHE), and Dr Andreas Tauber (GIZ) at the Montserrat Knowledge Exchange Workshop & Development Partners Meeting this morning at the Cultural Centre.