Electricity, water became more reliable, sustainable on islands

An inde­pendent evaluation has shown that the reliability and sustainability of elec­tricity and drinking water in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba have largely improved in the past years. The opin­ions differ over whether af­fordability has improved. Dutch Minister for Energy and Climate Rob Jetten stated this in a letter that he sent to the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament on Monday about the evalu­ation of the Caribbean Netherlands Electricity and Drinking Water Law. An external party carried out the investigation.

The report showed that reliability and sustainabil­ity of electricity and drink­ing water greatly improved, but that opinions on the affordability differ, despite the substantial subsidies. Like everywhere else in the world, electricity prices went up in the Caribbean Netherlands. The prices of both electricity and drink­ing water were largely brought down with struc­tural and incidental subsi­dies from The Hague in the past years.

The Dutch government will not propose changes to the Caribbean Netherlands Electricity and Drinking Water Law because the evaluation findings showed that reliability and sustain-ability goals were met, cer­tainly the short-term goals. With regard to affordabil­ity of electricity and drinking water rates, the Dutch government also wants to await the results of the Ca­ribbean Netherlands Social Minimum Committee. The committee, which is sched­uled to present its findings by October 1, is investigat­ing what households in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba need to make ends meet.

The evaluation of the Electricity and Drinking Water Law led to some use­ful main recommendations that the Dutch government will address, stated Jetten. One of these recommen­dations is to see how the (technical) supervision on the quality of electricity and drinking water facili­ties on the islands can be improved. There are also recommendations that are of a technical, administra­tive nature.

The Dutch government opted to stimulate central sustainability efforts, such as large solar parks and bat­tery storage, through subsi­dies of in total 33.6 million euros. Of this amount, 13.5 million euros has been al­located to construct a new solar park with battery stor­age and a wind turbine in Saba. With this investment, Saba will generate about 90% of its electricity in a sustainable manner.

In St. Eustatius, a subsidy of 10.1 million euros was made available for the ex­pansion of the solar park with battery storage. This will bring up the share of renewable energy to 60%. With the allocation of 10 million euros from the Dutch government, a new solar park is being built in Bonaire, which will become operational by the end of this summer. In combina­tion with the wind park, including battery storage, the share of sustainable en­ergy in Bonaire will go up to 80%.

Aside from these invest­ments in central sustain­able facilities, there is an interest in a decentralised form of generating renew­able energy, for example, via solar panels on the roofs of houses and businesses. This aspect will not be stim­ulated in existing buildings.

Minister Jetten explained that decentralised sustain-ability is more expensive to construct. In addition, the utilities companies said, it puts the net stability in dan­ger and it mostly benefits households who can afford to invest in decentralised electricity production.

Under the current legisla­tion, it is possible to gener­ate electricity in a decen­tralised manner for own use, but it is not actively stimulated. The Execu­tive Councils of the three islands have said that they agree with maintaining the current rules and as such, the Dutch government de­cided to not carry out fur­ther research in this matter.

The Ministry of Infra­structure and Water Man­agement invests close to six million euros in further improvements and sustain-ability of the drinking water facilities on the islands. In Saba, the water inlet with which sea water is taken in for the process of re­verse osmosis and provid­ing drinking water is being strengthened, additional water transport lines are being constructed and wa­ter production capacity is being expanded.

In St. Eustatius, the drink­ing water net is being ex­panded and improved. In Bonaire the water produc­tion capacity is being ex­panded.

The Daily Herald.

Saba and Bonaire sign Education Agenda with the Netherlands
Hans van de Velde becomes the new CEO of Winair

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Saba News