Montserrat has achieved the first indicator set by the European Union for release of funds under the financing agreement for the European Development Fund (EDF11), which was signed in February 2018, to support the transition towards sustainable economic development.
The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Her Excellency Ambassador Daniela Tramacere made the announcement on Thursday October 17, prior to leaving the island, following her courtesy visit which started on Tuesday, October 15. The Ambassador led a two-member delegation during her visit, which also included monitoring the EU funded projects.
The EU has contributed a grant of 18.4 million Euros under EDF11, which will be released in tranches (portions) once the EU is satisfied that Montserrat has achieved the required targets which will then trigger the release of funds. One of the first variable tranche indicators is for Montserrat to achieve 10% of the daily electricity peak demand, generated by renewable energy.
In announcing the achievement of this target, Ambassador Tramacere said, “So the first (variable) indicator of achievement was to achieve 10% of your need of energy via renewable energy, in this case it is solar energy, and this indicator has been achieved; so we are now processing the release of the first tranche.”
The Ambassador noted that based on her observations during the tours and meetings, Montserrat is making good progress towards the achievement of the second indicator, which is a target of 40% of the daily electricity peak demand, generated by renewable energy.
She said, “The next achievement will be 40% of (all energy needs) by solar, and from what we saw, you (Montserrat) will be able to achieve it, not in two years, but perhaps in 1 year and a half; so even ahead of our scheduled time.”
The delegation was hosted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management. The Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Donaldson Romeo said, “The fact that Montserrat has achieved this target is due to the hard work and dedication of the teams who ensured that all the conditions of the grant were met, in a timely manner. They must be commended for this, and are encouraged to keep the momentum going as we work towards the next target.”
While on the island, the delegation which also included the Head of Section, EU Delegation to Barbados and Eastern Caribbean States, Ms. Janet Coto Moreno, had an opportunity to meet with key personnel on island, who are responsible for the implementation of the EDF11, and was taken on tours of various sites for some of the major projects under the EDF11. The tour included visits to Plymouth and potential sites of products to be developed, such as beaches and volcano interpretive centre; Montserrat Volcano Observatory; and newly installed solar panels site and the Port, among others.
The funding will support renewable energy, tourism and other backbone infrastructure developments in areas crucial to address accessibility constraints, such as the Port on the island.