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Saint Lucia Energy Roadmap Looks to a New Energy Future

“Saint Lucia has shown clear leadership on accelerating renewable energy and energy efficiency. We are proud to be their partner,” Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute – Carbon War Room

October 18 2016, Castries, Saint Lucia—A new energy roadmap released today reveals a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective, and equitable electricity future for Saint Lucia. The Government of Saint Lucia (GoSL) and St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC), with independent analysis from Rocky Mountain Institute–Carbon War Room (RMI-CWR) and Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), produced a joint strategy.

“We recognize that a successful evolution of our power sector to renewables cannot happen without the participation of the existing electricity utility, LUCELEC. This study reinforces our belief,” said Hon. Stephenson King, minister of energy, Saint Lucia. Minister King is attending the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) in Miami where the new energy roadmap for Saint Lucia was unveiled as a model strategy for the optimal transition to renewable energy in small island developing states.

The strategy explores the best energy resource options—ranging from traditional thermal power plants to more innovative sources of supply, like solar, wind, and geothermal—as well as demand-side management and energy efficiency, to contain or reduce costs of the electricity system. It also surveys a variety of ownership models based on financial modeling of energy assets owned by independent power producers, the utility, and homeowners and businesses. The process integrated these technical findings with top-down policy directives. To understand the impact on electricity rates, existing and new regulatory frameworks and tariff structures were superimposed on various scenarios.

Key Findings:

  • The economically optimal system is a portfolio of solar, wind, energy storage, energy efficiency, and existing diesel generation. Alternative optimal scenarios include geothermal energy if secured at the right power purchase agreement (PPA) price point.
  • Existing diesel generation continues to play a role in the near term to meet reserve requirements and maintain reliability of the system.
  • The highest degree of utility ownership facilitates the lowest cost of operating the system.
  • Energy efficiency is a low-cost resource and the optimal route to immediately minimize system costs once the enabling policy is in place.

The Government of Saint Lucia (GoSL), and the national electric utility, LUCELEC, identified a need and an opportunity to improve the resiliency and cost-effectiveness of the electricity sector using the island’s local resources.

“Together, there was an understanding that what was needed to create a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective, and equitable electricity service was not a piecemeal approach to renewable energy investment, but rather a long-term plan to deliver the optimal benefits for the country as a whole,” said Victor Emmanuel, business development manager, LUCELEC.

In order to provide an independent implementation of this strategy, the GoSL enacted the National Utilities Regulatory Commission Act of 2016, which saw the commissioning of the first energy regulatory agency in Saint Lucia, the National Utility Regulatory Commission (NURC). It will promote and ensure the economic development of the utility supply services sector and be responsible for the implementation of the National Energy Transition Strategy (NETS).

The NETS is a plan developed jointly by GoSL and LUCELEC, based on independent analysis from RMI-CWR and CCI, with feedback from the public.

The NETS shows that lower cost systems, where all stakeholders’ interests are met, are indeed possible through an energy transition. Existing diesel infrastructure will continue to provide system reserve and reliability requirements, but energy efficiency and energy storage will play an increasing role in the evolving grid with increasing renewable energy penetration. The results provide a solid pathway for GoSL and LUCELEC to understand the price points at which investments and PPAs should occur. The NETS also guides the development of legislation and a regulatory framework that can create new, previously unexplored opportunities.

The report was released today at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) in Miami, USA. For more information, contact islandsenergy@rmi.org.

Download the case study today.

About LUCELEC

St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) is the only commercial generator, transmitter, distributor and seller of electrical energy in St. Lucia. LUCELEC aims to deliver efficient energy services that are safe, reliable, and environmentally responsible.

About NURC

The National Utility Regulatory Commission (NURC) is an independent utility regulatory body set up to manage the issuance of licenses in an independent and impartial way, guarantee the development of a tariff structure that meets international benchmarks, regulate fees and sets service standards.

About Rocky Mountain Institute—Carbon War Room

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. In 2014, RMI merged with Carbon War Room (CWR), whose business-led market interventions advance a low-carbon economy. The combined organization has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

solar panels with tropical forest and trees behind

About Clinton Climate Initiative

The Clinton Climate Initiative, launched by the Clinton Foundation in 2006, has committed to working with island nations around the world to create and advance diesel replacement solutions with support from the Government of Norway. Since 2012, CCI has signed MOUs with 25 island nations and formed a strategic partnership with partners including Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). CCI has helped generate over 63,000 MWh of clean energy annually in the Caribbean and East African Islands. CCI’s Islands Energy program sees signi cant value in establishing a whole-systems approach for island nations to transition from fossil fuel-based to low-carbon economies.

Media Contact

Katie Lau