Environment Division presents ambitious renewable energy to Cabinet

Chief Environment Officer, Diann Black-Layne (file photo)
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Department of Environment officials are working towards a target of 80 percent of all electricity used in Antigua and Barbuda being generated by renewable energy by 2030.

Chief Environment Officer Diann Black-Layne is of the view that this would assist various areas of the country’s economy.

A submission has been sent to Cabinet to be rubber-stamped before being signed by the Prime Minister and publicly announced.

Assuming it receives the official seal of approval, the move would make the twin island nation one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world.

 “We want to be making US $50 million a year in Antigua growing our own energy sector and that is the target. That means setting up wind turbines, setting up solar panels, getting Antiguans with back up energy systems using solar,” Black-Layne said.

“If a hurricane comes and the grid goes down, 50 to 60 percent of our homes can still function. So, what we are now looking at is growing a whole new sector in Antigua and Barbuda. In the next 10 years that sector will be valued at US $50 million per year, beyond that it will continue to grow to over US $100 million per year and will be more valuable than importing fossil fuel.”

She also added that the energy created could be exported resulting in further financial benefits.

She maintained that growing Antigua and Barbuda’s own energy sector and exporting it remains the primary goal.

Black-Layne explained that this was what her team, through a coalition of government agencies submitted to Cabinet for consideration.

“It’s highly popular; we consulted with 1,700 Antiguans including local businesses who overwhelmingly want to see that transition take place because they see an opportunity for them to grow their existing businesses and young entrepreneurs will get an idea of how to start new businesses,” the chief environment office said.

Black-Layne acknowledged that Antigua and Barbuda currently imports a colossal US $80 million worth of fossil fuel each year.

However, she admitted that there are some parties which still need to be convinced of the feasibility and value of the plans ahead, to include the state-owned utilities company, the Antigua Public Utilities Authority.

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