BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — An energy-efficient street lighting project funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is projected to save St. Kitts and Nevis over US $2.2 million a year.

Under the Street and Flood Light Retrofitting Project, which was launched Dec. 11, 650 street lights in both St. Kitts and Nevis will be replaced with energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lamps.

The CDB Board of Directors approved US $5.8 million in financing for the project in December 2016. The government, the St Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) and the Nevis Electricity Company (NEVLEC) are expected to contribute approximately US $700,000 to support implementation and installation of the new street lights.

Speaking at the launch, Portfolio Manager, Economic Infrastructure Division, CDB, Alexander Augustine, noted that St. Kitts and Nevis have higher-than-average electricity consumption and like many other Caribbean countries, high dependence on imported fossil fuels for electricity.

“St. Kitts and Nevis, like many of CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries, exhibits a high dependence on imported petroleum products to power its economy,” Augustine said. “It also has high electricity consumption per capita, about 20 percent higher than the Latin American and Caribbean average.”

In light of this and with approximately 87 percent of the Federation’s energy supply being imported, electricity-related fuel imports are equivalent to approximately 8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

“Such heavy reliance on imported fuel has obvious adverse consequences for this twin-island state,” said Augustine said. “This project, with an overall goal of improving energy efficiency across the two islands, will undoubtedly contribute to a reduction in the country’s fuel imports.”

Through the project, the government will also be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the consumption of fossil fuels in electricity generation
The project includes a grant for the completion of a climate risk screening study. The study will help both SKELEC and NEVLEC examine their vulnerability to projected climate change impacts.

Under the project plan, the new LED street lamps are scheduled for installation by the end of 2019.

The project aligns to the CDB Strategic Plan 2015-2019. Its Energy Sector Policy and Strategy Plan highlights energy efficiency and renewable energy as CDB priority investment areas.