BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, in collaboration with the St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) and Leclanché SA, broke ground on December 10 for the construction of a $70-million solar generation and energy storage facility as part of the Basseterre Solar and Storage Project.
Leclanché SA is a Switzerland-based company that provides high-quality energy storage solutions based on lithium-ion cell technology.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris participated in Thursday’s ground-breaking ceremony at Needsmust, where he stated that this project forms part of his Government’s sustainable development agenda.
“My government recognizes that the direct risks of climate change negatively impact agriculture, our fisheries, our forestry, our health care systems and indeed our tourism,” said the Prime Minister. “All pillars of our own economy are being impacted by the phenomenon of climate change. Storms and flooding frequently damage buildings and infrastructure, and droughts lead to a drop in agriculture production. We live annually with the ever present danger of hurricanes…so whatever we in St. Kitts and Nevis do in this fight, is not only in our duty to humanity as inhabitants of this planet that we all share, but it is in our own national interests as a small island developing state.”
He noted that this venture holds numerous benefits for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, while at the same time allows the Federation to fulfil its role and responsibility in the global community’s response to the threat of climate change.
“This 35.7 megawatt-capacity plant with storage capability will provide cost effective, cleaner and quieter electricity that can bring to near zero the island of St. Kitts carbon footprint for energy production,” said the Hon. Dr. Harris. “This would be a first in terms of the dramatic reduction in carbon footprint by any country in the Western Hemisphere.
“I am advised that the island of St. Kitts has a system load on a typical weekday ranging from 18 to 24 megawatts, with the occasional spike up to 28 megawatts. This solar plant with its storage capacity could negate the need for running most of our diesel generators on a continuous basis.”
“Pursuant to the long-term savings to SKELEC, the people and the business community of St. Kitts can expect a long-term stable supply of power,” he said. “It makes for better financial planning as we embark on rebuilding and innovating our economy to secure the stronger and safer future to which we all must endeavour. It builds our resilience in our utility infrastructure which is critical to our sustainable growth and development.”
Construction of the solar generation and energy storage facility is expected to be completed within 12-18 months.
Under the Power Purchase Agreement between SKELEC and Leclanché SA, the Switzerland-based company is responsible for the development of the resource and technology for the project and will undertake the development and operational risk. SKELEC will only procure firm megawatt hour (Mwh) under the terms of the agreement.
The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by several government ministers including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Public Infrastructure, Energy et al., the Honourable Shawn Richards; Executive Vice President of Leclanché, Bryan Urban; General Manager of the St. Kitts Electricity Company, Clement Williams, as well as representatives of the diplomatic and consular corps.