In July 2021, oil jumped to its highest price level in six years after talks between OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and its oil-producing allies were postponed indefinitely, with the group failing to reach an agreement on production policy for August and beyond. The price of oil was its highest since November 2014.
High prices of oil result in high electricity charges for our people in SVG. SVG Green Party Leader, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, very strongly believes that SVG should go 100% renewable energy for electricity production, as this would make electricity cheaper and make our country’s electricity production sustainable in the long-term.
Decades ago, we should have phased out the use of oil to generate electricity in SVG. Thousands of households in SVG have no mains electricity, because it is too expensive for them. We need policies in SVG that enable equality and all households to access mains electricity.
Where we already have hydro-generated electricity, we could increase our capacity by having consecutive turbines along the river. The same water used to power a hydro turbine upstream can be reused to power more hydro turbines as it flows to turbines located further downstream. We should build two additional hydro units in series at South Rivers and at Richmond.
We should remove the monopoly that Vinlec has to generate and sell electricity in SVG, so that households and Vincentian-owned businesses are allowed to generate and sell electricity produced by renewable energy. Having more suppliers will create a market where electricity prices would come down.
To make it easier and cheaper for households and companies to produce electricity in SVG from renewable energy, government should remove all taxes on equipment and parts needed to generate electricity by solar, wind, hydro and waves. With electricity produced by solar, wind, hydro and wave processes, electricity will be cheap. That is the best way to ensure that every household has access to mains electricity.
An SVG renewable energy industry would create thousands of jobs and electricity for all SVG homes.
Household electricity bills could be reduced to virtually nothing. Areas such as North Windward, North Leeward, Central Leeward and South Leeward are prime areas for wind farm renewable energy electricity production.
Norway, Brazil and New Zealand are all world leaders when it comes to renewable energy. They came first, second and third respectively in the global rankings.
Norway utilises hydropower more than any other country around the globe – it accounts for 45 per cent of its supply alone. The Nordic country is known for its many steep valleys and rivers, as well as increased rainfall due to climate change, meaning hydroelectricity is bountiful.
With the second highest supply of renewable energy, Brazil is the leader in biofuel and waste energy. These sources account for 32 per cent of its total energy supply.
Renewable energy sources account for 42 per cent of New Zealand’s energy supply. It is a world leader in wind and solar energy which make up 25 per cent of its energy supply.
The Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, says that the reliance on oil for electricity production is draining our country of money as it flows abroad to oil producers. This is money that should be invested and spent in SVG to strengthen our economy. If SVG went 100% renewable energy for electricity production, then less money would be lost abroad.
We must make SVG electricity cheaper and sustainable. In the long-term, oil will become scarce, and therefore, more expensive. We have an endless supply of free sun, wind, water and sea, so it makes sense for SVG to go 100% renewable energy for electricity production.