Published On: Thu, Aug 22nd, 2013

Minister Lake says new Energy Policy to offer incentives to residents and businesses to Go Green; Energy Committee formed

Sint MaartenPHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake initiated a meeting recently to follow-up on a draft Energy Policy that was commissioned by the first coalition government of the United People’s (UP) party and Democratic Party (DP) with the first draft appearing in February 2012.

Since the initial meeting and a follow-up meeting, an Energy Committee has been established.  The committee will start working next week.

The energy policy covers several areas which now have to be worked out by the committee.  Some of these are: Initiate an energy efficiency program to improve the efficiency of energy production; Preparation of a Green Energy Plan with the objective to have 20 per cent of the electricity demand on St. Maarten to be generated with renewable energy sources by 2015.

The Green Energy Plan should include a provision for renewable energy users to connect to the grid under specific conditions; To introduce attractive incentives for solar.

The Government will create an Energy Efficiency Program for stimulating the electricity consumers to reduce their energy consumption.

A study will also be initiated to identify the feasibility of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) as an alternative fuel for GEBE production and as an alternative for cooking gas.

“Residents and the business community need to have incentives at their disposal in order to Go Green. One of the main reasons is to reduce our country’s footprint on the environment.  We have a responsibility firstly to ourselves and secondly to the international community of nations, to also make a valid valuable contribution to reducing pollution even though our footprint may be small.

“Every footprint made in saving our world is one step closer to achieving that goal.  At the same time, we are reducing the costs to the consumer by promoting green energy production.    Former Minister of Energy Affairs Theo Heyliger was spearheading the Energy Policy for the country and I am happy to get things moving forward again in conjunction with GEBE our utility company,” Minister Maurice Lake said on Wednesday.

During the initial meeting participants exchanged views on what is already in the energy policy, what should be added, and GEBE indicated that they will send their comments and suggestions to the report in writing.

Both GEBE and Government representatives see the necessity for the island to have an energy policy and are committed to the development of this document together within the shortest timeframe.

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