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FEATURE: Anguilla moves towards cleaner energy


CDKN’s Carolyn Fry caught up with Beth Barry, Coordinator of the Anguilla Renewable EnergyRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil. Office, to find out more about the CDKN supported initiative to help Anguilla move towards solar energySolar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics ...

“If people in the USA had to pay 20 cents a kilowatt hour (kW/h) for their electricityElectricity generation includes all technologies that turn some form of energy into useful electric energy. Electricity is a form of energy that has magnetic, radiant and chemical effects. Electric current is created by a flow of electrons. they’d be rioting in the streets, says Beth Barry. “Yet here on Anguilla we pay 43 cents per kW/h, and a price of 40–45 cents per kW/h is common throughout the Caribbean islands – it’s outrageous.”

As Coordinator of the Anguilla Renewable Energy Office, Beth is at the forefront of efforts to help the island switch from relying on expensive imported diesel to power its homes and offices, to using solar energyPhotovoltaics (PV) is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells for energy by converting sunlight directly into electricity. Solar power is sometimes used as a synonym to refer to electricity generated from solar radiation.. Not only will this have an impact on energy bills but will also help the island become more sustainable.

CDKN is helping Anguilla achieve its goal of obtaining 15% of its energy from solar powerSolar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics ... by funding the Anguilla Renewable Energy Integration ProjectProject is an intervention designed to achieve specific objectives within specified resources and implementation schedules, often within the framework of a broader program. (Glossary Monitoring and Evaluation Terms; MERG Monitoring & Evaluation Reference Group and UNAIDS). This is being carried out by Castalia Strategic Advisors, under the guidance of AERO, on behalf of the Government of Anguilla. The aim is for Castalia to equip the government with all the information it needs to change the island’s legislation, so it can integrate renewablesRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil. into its gridA grid is a network of transmission lines, usually to distribute electric power ..

“We’ve had very positive results from the stakeholderThe stakeholder is a person, group, or entity who has a direct or indirect role and interest in the goals or objectives and implementation of a program/intervention and/or its evaluation. (Glossary Monitoring and Evaluation Terms; MERG Monitoring & Evaluation Reference Group and UNAIDS) meetings we’ve held with members of the government, utilities and major consumers, such as the tourist industry,” says Beth. “And the government have asked Castalia to move forward as fast as they can so they can make a decision more quickly. So I have high hopes that we’ll get there.”

At the moment, Anguilla provides electricity across the island through a central plant fuelled by imported diesel. This is bought on the global market, and the costCost: The consumption of resources such as labour time, capital, materials, fuels, etc. as the consequence of an action. In economics, all resources are valued at their opportunity cost, which is the value of the most valuable alternative use of the resources. Costs are defi ned in a variety of ... is very volatile. On a monthly basis, the utility company looks at how much fuel has been burned, at what cost, and that fee gets spilt up among the consumer base. Although consumers pay a base rate covering overheads, the bulk of their bill covers the cost of fuel.

Anguilla’s present electricity act only allows islanders to use electricity from their own diesel generators if the grid goes down; however individuals are allowed to use energy generated by windWind occurs due to different temperature levels in the atmosphere (troposphere) which are heated up by the sun. A typical example are the trade winds at the equator where the sun is most powerful. or solar powerPhotovoltaics (PV) is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells for energy by converting sunlight directly into electricity. Solar power is sometimes used as a synonym to refer to electricity generated from solar radiation. at any time. The plan for the future is to install a utility-scale solar farm, but also to encourage individuals to invest in solar panelsRegarding photovoltaic or solar panels with crystalline cells, the photoactive layer consists of serial and/or parallel interconnected solar cells which are embedded into two plastic films. A front glass protects the interior for mechanical damage. Regarding thin-film solar modules the ... so they can generate their own energy.

“The best savings you could get as a customer would be to make an upfront investment, if you had a good site for solar, and provide as much energy as you possibly could. In that case, you’d be saving the entire retail rate for every kW/h you produced yourself and if producing more, you would get money back, most probably through a feed-in tariffA Feed-in Tariff is an incentive structure to encourage the adoption of renewable energy through government legislation. The regional or national electricity utilities are obligated to buy renewable electricity at above-market rates set by the government..”

Other Small Island Developing States are also going through the process of making the transition to integrate renewable energy into their gridsA grid is a network of transmission lines, usually to distribute electric power .. In May, 18 states that attended the High-Level Conference of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Achieving Sustainable Energy for All signed the Barbados Declaration, making voluntary commitments to promote transformational activities in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiencyUsing less energy/electricity to perform the same function. Programs designed to use electricity more efficiently - doing the same with less., energy accessEnergy access represents a crucial yet often overlooked dimension to the issue of poverty. Relatively small amounts of energy can satisfy the basic needs of rural populations and have a dramatic impact on quality of life. Despite this, approximately 3 billion people , half the worlds population, ... and low-carbon development.

Although some islands, such as Barbados, have made good progress in this regard, many are still at the early stages of planning how to integrate renewable energy into their grids. Of the 14 British Overseas Territories, which include Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Gibraltar plus the Turks and Caicos islands, Anguilla is the furthest ahead with its transformation plans.

“For a small island we’re very far ahead,” explains Beth. We’ve got an Energy Policy and a draft Climate ChangeClimate change is a lasting change in weather patterns over long periods of time. It can be a natural phenomena and and has occurred on Earth even before people inhabited it. Quite different is a current situation that is also referred to as climate change, anthropogenic climate change, or ... policy and have been focussing efforts on the question of sustainable energy supplyrepeated but noted for linking later for several years now. As a result we have a lot of information we can share with other islands.”

One of the characteristics that has smoothed Anguilla’s path towards its goal has been the involvement of a volunteer group. The AREO is the active arm of the Anguilla National Energy Committee but is made up of interested volunteers, from government, the utility company, technology installers and consumers. Having no political allegiance, the AREO was able to work through the change of government in 2010, providing essential continuity to local progress on sustainable developmentThe concept of sustainable development was introduced in the World Conservation Strategy (IUCN 1980) and had its roots in the concept of a sustainable society and in the management of renewable resources. Adopted by the WCED in 1987 and by the Rio Conference in 1992 as a process of change in ...

Although governments are ultimately the decision makers when it comes to changing legislation, they don’t always have the resources to be aware of everything that’s going on in all sectors or to develop relationships with multilateral organisations that provide funding to renewable energy initiatives. A volunteer group can help align diverse stakeholdersThe stakeholder is a person, group, or entity who has a direct or indirect role and interest in the goals or objectives and implementation of a program/intervention and/or its evaluation. (Glossary Monitoring and Evaluation Terms; MERG Monitoring & Evaluation Reference Group and UNAIDS) in the right direction towards particular goals.

“You need a strong legislative framework to make the transition towards integrating renewables but some islands have found it difficult to move through that process. Our extra-governmental approach, where you take advantage of people in your country who are passionate about energy and work with them to develop partnerships, is a proven way of being able to move through the legislative change process.”

Third Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum, St Kitts & Nevis, September 5–6

Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum 2012, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct 15-17

 

Photo courtesy of Flickr/CreativeCommons/Madelana Pestana

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