Wind energy to power 60% of Grenada’s largest islandKimroy Bailey
The island of Grenada is home to arguably the highest electricity cost in the Caribbean at a rate of US₵ 60/ kWh  compared with US₵42/ kWh in Jamaican and as US₵20/ kWh in Trinidad and Tobago . The average Grenadian pays a significant sum of their monthly income for electricity generation especially those who use electricity to heat their water at home .
The small Caribbean territory consists of three islands – Grenada with 120 square miles and about 90,000 inhabitants, Carriacou with 13 square miles and a population of about 5,000 and Petite Martinique with about 486 acres. Nicknamed the Isle of Spice, Grenada is a major producer of nutmeg, cinnamon, mace and cocoa. Grenada is one of the world’s largest exporters, this too heavily impacts their electricity bill and their annual oil imports.
Although its proximity to oil and gas-rich Trinidad and Tobago makes it a likely source of as-yet-undiscovered gas and oil, Grenada also seeks to capitalize on its wealth of renewable resources. Grenada has decided to launch a comprehensive assessment of potential renewable resources including wind, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, and solar energy .
In a bid to liberalise the electricity sector the government of the country is working towards using wind energy to power 60% of the largest island: Carriacou. The organizers is expecting that this step will significantly reduce the cost of electricity on the island. The proceeding press release provided by the Jamaica Gleaner will provide additional information on the island’s Renewable Energy quest. It would be interesting to see Jamaica, considered one of the most inefficient electricity providers in the Caribbean follow suit and become more serious about exploiting their renewable energy potential.
Grenada says it will use funds provided by the World Bank to facilitate the liberalisation of its electricity sector as part of an initiative being undertaken by other countries within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Public Utilities Minister Gregory Bowen told Parliament that EC$1.4 million from the World Bank would be used to facilitate the process.
“I want to assure the nation that a steering committee will be formulated and become active in ensuring we work with the other countries for the liberalisation of the electricity sector,” Bowen said.
He added that initial indications are that once the system remains the same a reduction in electricity rates will not be realised.
Bowen said the wind turbine project in Carriacou will be pursued as an alternative source of energy in Grenada.
“This is a over three million euros grant to Grenada, though the Grenada Electricity Services Company (GRENLEC) is putting some funding into it. But we want to ensure that the lease does not go to the detriment of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” Bowen told legislators.
In his budget presentation last month, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said his administration would seek to expedite the implementation of a wind-energy project in Carriacou, which is a partnership involving the European Union and GRENLEC.
He said that by using wind turbines the project will meet about 60 per cent of Carriacou’s electricity needs.
“Government is strongly committed to the increased use of renewable energy in Grenada. In this regard, private investment is essential and will be pursued as a major priority,” Mitchell added.
Source: Jamaica Gleaner