Let’s walk the talk

In Antigua & Barbuda, we just talk, and talk, and then, talk some more. Somehow it seems to make us relax because we spoke about whatever topic/issue.

For over 10 years now, we have been talking about the high cost of purchasing and providing electrical energy. We have talked about why the cost of fuel is driving the price of electricity beyond the reach of the average householder. We have talked about buying more and bigger generators for big money – a discussion that has been turned into a political football.

Solar panels mounted on poles in New Jersey. (Photo by Errol George)
Solar panels mounted on poles in New Jersey. (Photo by Errol George)

While we are babbling, we are still suffering. We have all arrived at an agreed position, that alternative (renewable) energy is the way to go, but we chat and chat about it while APUA fights hard to hold on to the monopoly of being the only legal producer of electrical power in the State, except for some influential hotels and the likes are exempt (they generate their own power if and when they want to).

It seems that by the time we are done doing all that talking, we do not have enough energy to do any walking. So … it seems like we can talk the talk but we can’t ‘walk the talk’. I think Antigua and Barbuda needs to adopt a saying (position) I heard on the TV the other night; “Don’t tell me you love me, show me”. Heard enough talk, now let’s walk.

The other day as I passed through Nevis, I saw a very large field of windmills on the south side of the island; they have alternative energy. I went across to St Kitts, and when I looked across the runway I noticed what looked like a half acre of land where solar panels were being installed to augment the regular supply of electricity to the airport.

I was recently in New Jersey, and saw something that caught my interest. Almost all the electrical poles (lamp posts) throughout that state have solar panels mounted on them, and I felt compelled to take some pictures with my cell phone to share with readers here. Now, is an investment in this direction, as a demonstrative part of our ‘walk’ prohibitive to APUA/Government? I am sure that a manufacturer of those solar panels would be willing to work with us (given that we will service our debt) to install those panels just like they have done in New Jersey, and just like the Chinese did the street lights in Antigua.

Let’s talk. Is it doable? Would that help in stabilising (if not bringing down) the price of our electrical power? What would be the investment cost? What would be the recovery period? Can a feasibility study be done and the results made public? How soon can this be done? When will we begin to see some ‘walk the talk’?

Kudos to Glennette’s on upper Newgate Street; I see she has decked the roof of the building with the solar panels. Is the return on investment (ROI) worth it? Somehow, I feel that if Antigua is in bed with a solar panel manufacturing company to supply that large amount of panels, that may drive down the unit cost to Antiguans to affordable levels.

Antigua, let’s walk the talk.