VINLEC Signs Contract to Construct First Solar-Battery Storage Microgrid System in the Grenadines
Kingstown, Saint Vincent – December 21, 2017 — Today Mr. Thornley Myers, CEO of St. Vincent Electricity Services Limited (VINLEC) and a Curacao solar energy firm, EcoEnergy, N.V. signed a contract to start the engineering, procurement, and construction for the utility’s first solar battery storage microgrid., located on the island of Mayreau in the Grenadines.
When connected to the Mayreau power system in mid-2018, the project will reduce the use of diesel for the generation of electricity while providing increased energy security and inherent resiliency to climate impacts. The project will produce enough renewable energy to silence the diesel generators for up a period of 6 to 10 hours per day. This will lead to a significant reduction in both greenhouse gas emissions and noise on the small island community. The project is historic for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is VINLEC’s first solar and battery storage project and could provide a replicable model for the region, where in the Eastern Caribbean, diesel-powered generators currently account for over 90% of all electricity generation. In addition, this project will use advanced engineering, manufacturing and construction techniques to secure the installation against the strongest Category V Hurricanes, which is of even greater significance in light of hurricanes Maria and Irma that devastated the Caribbean in September of this year.
“We are extremely grateful for the role of RMI in bringing the project to this stage and look forward to the day when we could see the practical ramifications of the plans that have been developed over recent months,” said Thornley Myers, CEO of VINLEC. “As a multi-island State this project takes on additional dimensions as we look to gaining greater insights on such systems with an eye on similar projects on other islands.”
Last year, VINLEC and the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines jointly developed the National Electricity Transition Strategy, an energy roadmap informed by the Islands Energy Program – the joint program between the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI). The strategy identifies possible options for a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective, and equitable electricity sector using local resources. This project contract signing signifies progress, and demonstrates VINLEC’s and the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ continued commitment to changing the current electricity generation mix.
“The solar and storage project on Mayreau aligns well with the government’s aggressive renewable energy targets,” said Ellsworth Dacon, Energy Unit Director in the Ministry of Energy, National Security, Air & Sea Port Development. “We thank the Noorda Foundation, the Global Environmental Facility, the United Nations Development Program and the PACES program [Promoting Access to Clean Energy Services] for their project donations. And we congratulate VINLEC and EcoEnergy on the contract signing. We look forward to seeing the first solar and battery project in operation at VINLEC.”
The project development, engineering and procurement process for VINLEC’s solar / battery initiative in Mayreau was facilitated with technical assistance from non-profit partner RMI; alongside energy and engineering advisory firm Asante Energy. The Ray & Tye Noorda Foundation provided the funding for the development and a significant amount of the capital expense. The organizations supported VINLEC with project development, bid evaluation, and contract negotiations to ensure the project meets international standards and best practices while procured at a competitive price for the region.
“This project is a major milestone not just for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines but for the entire region. Solar and battery storage can now compete with traditional generation on levelized cost while improving energy security, sustainability and resiliency,” said RMI Director of Projects Christopher Burgess.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines project support provided by RMI is made possible by the support of the Ray & Tye Noorda Foundation and the Global Environment Facility in partnership with the United Nations Development Program.
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About the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation
RTNF envisions a world where all people enjoy equal opportunities to achieve health, purpose, and happiness. We make sizable, enabling grants to those adventurous organizations we believe have the ability to propel the world closer to achieving that vision, concentrating on the following two populations:
• For the people of today: We work to alleviate suffering and to provide educational access and support for all, with special emphasis on those who are most disadvantaged.
• For the people of tomorrow: Wishing to leave the world better than we found it, or at least no worse, we aim to eliminate the unsustainable use of fossil fuels by fostering the research and development of alternative energy sources, supporting environmental issue comprehension efforts, and supporting energy use behavioral modification programs.
About the Global Environment Facility
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, the GEF has provided over $17 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $88 billion in financing for more than 4000 projects in 170 countries. Today, the GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues.
About United Nations Development Programme
UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.
About Clinton Climate Initiative
The Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change. The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) collaborates with governments and partner organizations to increase the resilience of communities facing climate change while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. CCI has helped generate over 63,000 MWh of clean energy annually in the Caribbean and East African Islands.
About Asante Energy
Asante Energy is an industry leading consulting firm, specializing in creative solutions to complex renewable energy challenges. With over 80MW of rooftop and ground mount solar under our belt and some of the first microgrid projects installed and operating around the world we know how to bring projects from idea to reality.
About Eco Energy
Eco Energy was Curaçao’s first solar energy company and they are now a market leader in the Caribbean Region. Eco has installed over 20,000 solar panels and is proud to be a part of island energy transitions from fossil fuel to renewable and sustainable solutions.
About Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an independent nonprofit founded in 1982—transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.
About St. Vincent Electricity Services Limited
St. Vincent Electricity Services Limited delivers electricity to approximately 44,000 customers on the islands of in St. Vincent, Bequia, Canouan, Union Island and Mayreau where the Company operates its power plants. VINLEC supplies electricity to its customers through a network spanning over 350 miles of 33kV, 11kV, 400V and 230V lines.