EU representatives visit Saba, laud renewable energy projects

A small delegation from the European Union (EU) was on Saba on Wednesday, November 9 to meet with authorities and to visit the EU-funded projects, in particular the renewable energy projects.

EU representatives Joan Nadal Sastre (center) and Kristina Sevastou (left) with Commissioner Rolando Wilson (second from left) and Mark Zagers (second from right) and David Leonce (right) of Saba Electric Company (SEC) with in the background the solar parks Phase 1 and 2.

It also served as a courtesy visit to introduce the new Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Guyana, for Suriname and with responsibility for Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten, Joan Nadal Sastre.

Nadal Sastre and EU Delegation Program Manager Kristina Sevastou were met at the Juancho Yrausquin Airport by Commissioner Rolando Wilson. Managing Director of the Saba Electric Company (SEC) Mark Zagers and SEC Project Director David Leonce provided a tour of the solar park located next to the airport. The solar parks were financed by the European Development Fund (EDF) with partial funding of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK).

Phase 3

After the tour of the solar park, the EU representatives went to the SEC offices for a presentation on SEC’s renewable energy projects. SEC is preparing the Phase 3 renewable energy project and is researching the feasibility of wind energy along with additional solar energy in combination with more battery storage. This project will enable Saba to advance its long-term vision of 100% sustainable energy and reduce its reliance of fossil fuel for electricity generation by 2025.

The EU, under its Green Deal program 2021-2027, will be making 4.1 million euro available for renewable energy on Saba. Financing for Phase 3 will also come from the Dutch Ministry of EZK.

Right track

“Saba is on the right track to make the transition to renewable energy. We are very pleased to see the progress Saba makes. Saba serves as an example for the Caribbean region. It is good to see that Saba takes renewable energy very seriously and that it takes on a pioneering role. This will reduce the CO2 emission and promote Saba as a green destination,” said Nadal Sastre.

The EU representatives also met with the Executive Council and visited the Under the Hill housing project, which was partly funded by the EU under a previous EU housing program. During their visit, the representatives were accompanied by Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) Youth Member Veronica Zaegers, who serves as Saba’s youth ambassador in the EU.

“I am glad to have received the EU representatives. Their visit provided us with the opportunity to show our projects and give an update on our efforts in further increasing renewable energy. I am grateful for all the support that Saba receives from the EU,” said Commissioner Rolando Wilson.

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