Published 13 April 2023
Buckie Got It Media Source
Remarks by the Honourable Dr. Terrace Drew, Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance of Saint Kitts and Nevis at the WHD Meeting with Caribbean Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors,
Washington DC, USA,
Wednesday 12th April 2023.
” Reaping Opportunities from Green Energy”
Thank you Mr. Chairman It is an honour to participate in today’s high-level meeting where we discuss matters of importance to the survival of small island developing states, like St. Kitts and Nevis, the country which I have the honour and privilege to lead.
The significance of my participation is greatly enhanced by the fact that I am doing so for the first time in my capacity as prime minister and minister of finance following the historic victory at the polls in August 2022.
As one of the smallest among the community of nations, Saint Kitts and Nevis is proud to make a contribution to the global effort to find solutions to the multiplicity of issues that we face as a collective.
One of the most difficult challenges we are forced to confront is the threat posed by climate change, and efforts to adapt and mitigate the deleterious effects resulting from global warming.
I would wish to focus on the specific topic of “Reaping Opportunities from Green Energy“.
Mr. Chairman, it is no secret that Saint Kitts and Nevis stands among the nations most heavily reliant on fossil fuels. In fact, 95 percent of our energy is derived from diesel. This is a reality that we consider unsustainable, undesirable, and unacceptable.
In keeping with our commitment to global efforts to reduce ozone-depleting gases, we have declared our goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 61 percent by 2030, using 2010 as the base period.
This is indeed an ambitious undertaking; one backed by concrete proposals involving the transition from energy based on fossil fuels to cleaner and greener renewable energy alternatives.
In Saint Kitts and Nevis, we are blessed with an abundance of sunshine to generate solar power, wind, and geothermal energy reserves, particularly on the island of Nevis. We have actively considered all three of these renewable energy sources, and are at an advanced stage of rolling out concrete proposals which are transformational in nature, redounding to the overall benefit of our people.
Mr. Chairman, we are convinced that exploring opportunities for green energy alternatives will lead to lower energy prices. No longer will we anticipate the uncertainty caused by the fluctuations in the price of fossil fuels on the global market. We will be able to use these cost savings to diversify our economy and pursue our development objectives in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Opportunities exist in proposals to outfit government-funded housing, schools, and other institutions with solar panels. This policy is consistent with Goal 7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which focuses on the need to provide access to clean and affordable energy.
Lower energy prices serve as a solid platform for growth and development in agriculture, manufacturing, education, ICT, health care, and transportation sectors, to name a few. We regard it as the high tide which causes all the proverbial boats to float unhindered by obstacles in the ocean. High energy prices impede economic and human development. Lowering the cost of energy is therefore a clearly defined development objective of the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
As regards opportunities in geothermal energy, our government has taken action to secure the requisite financing from the Caribbean Development Bank to construct a 30 MW plant by 2025. Drilling operations are projected to commence later this year.
Given the current domestic demand of 28 Mega Watts of power, and the additional supply provided by solar and wind, we are excited by the prospect of achieving our goal of full energy independence.
To take it one step further, we intend to explore opportunities to export geothermal energy to the neighbouring islands, thereby significantly improving our economic outlook.
It is clear that maximizing opportunities provided by green energy alternatives is conducive to the further development of our twin island state. Increased economic activity is directly linked to higher employment levels in new sectors of the economy. We cannot afford to sit idly and allow opportunities to pass us by. We have no choice but to create an enabling environment for investment in green energy to thrive, given the inherent links to sustainable development in all its dimensions.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the discussion today. I look forward to continuing the dialogue throughout our mission and beyond.