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Vanterpool celebrates renewable energy ‘progress’

Mark Vanterpool. File photo

Minister responsible for energy Mark Vanterpool said there is reason to celebrate – among other things – the steps that have been taken so far to have the Territory replace 30% of its National Electricity Supply within the next six years, with renewable energy from sources such as the sun.

He yesterday noted that electricity generation in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is 99 percent dependent on imported fossil fuels, which include gas.

“As minister with responsibility for the subject, I have been leading a campaign to ensure that, by the year 2023, the Territory would have replaced 30% of its National Electricity Supply with renewable energy,” he said.

Vanterpool added that, since the renewable energy programme began locally in 2013, various developments have taken place.

In listing a number of them, he noted that, in May 2015, lawmakers passed the BVI Electricity Corporation Act 2015, amending the 1979 Ordinance, to provide for the development and management of renewable energy.

“This means that private companies and individuals, with the approval of the Ministry of Communication and Works and the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) can produce energy through renewable energy sources such as wind and solar,” said Vanterpool.

Furthermore, an Energy Policy was developed, approved by Cabinet, and tabled in the House of Assembly. “This will guide the Territory’s renewable energy strategy and programme,” the minister noted.

He also stated that, during 2014 to 2015, there were ‘multiple’ pilot studies to learn more about solar street lights.

“50 solar street lights were purchased, arrived in the Territory in July 2016, and have been installed in previously un-lit locations on Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada,” Vanterpool said, while noting that Renewable Energy courses commenced at H Lavity Stoutt Community College in summer 2014.

Vanterpool also stated that, in October 2015, the government started a public relations campaign to engage all stakeholders, and to educate the public on energy conservation and renewable energy.

“As part of this campaign, we educated students in all public schools across the Territory during April and May 2016 on the importance of renewable energy – reducing, reusing and recycling,” he added.

After listing those measures – as well as other developments regarding power generation in the Territory, Vanterpool told persons gathered at a power-related event: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have cause to celebrate. We have come a mighty long way.”

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