Saint Lucia- An Island of Limitless Energy Potential

Saint Lucia- An Island of Limitless Energy Potential

By: Joanne Norville

I heard about the CCREEE internship opportunity from a friend who completed the internship last year. The energy sector is a very interesting field to me, and I viewed this internship opportunity as a great way to get exposure to the kind of work it involves in Saint Lucia. This process of data collection has opened my eyes to many positive things going on in my country, and has inspired me to an unexpected extent.

One of the things I learned during this experience is that the hospitality industry in Saint Lucia extends far beyond tourism, as almost everyone I interacted with in my data collection efforts was not only cooperative but excited to assist with this initiative. My supervisors were exceptionally supportive, from establishing contact with various agencies on my behalf, to kindly bearing with me and the many questions I asked often. The contact persons at several of the agencies I called and emailed were also very supportive and willing to go above and beyond to provide any information which I needed. There were some which may have taken a while to get me the information, but there was definitely a desire to cooperate and assist in any way they could.

Even more impressive was learning about the innovations and move toward renewable energy on the island, especially geothermal energy. As a volcanic island, Saint Lucia is in a prime position to take advantage of the geothermal energy stored beneath the surface around our volcano located in the town of Soufriere, marked by the world-renowned Pitons. Through this internship I learned that not only is there a project aimed at developing the geothermal energy resources in Saint Lucia, but it is well underway, having passed the stage of surface exploration and impact assessments. I am excited about the future possibilities this innovative project may present for Saint Lucia!

The island has been making great strides as reflected in the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which essentially outlines Saint Lucia’s commitments and contributions toward reducing the rate of global warming. The Initial NDCs of 2015 indicated that we would pursue a 2% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector compared to 2010 emissions by the year 2030, however the updated and final NDC of 2020 pursued a much more optimistic figure of a 7% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030! This was surprising but heartening information as it reflects the confidence of those in positions to make these decisions in our small island.

The push for energy innovation extends even further into the education sector on the island. I was given the privilege of touring the Energy Department, which though small, contains an impressive collection of equipment aiming to promote renewable energy technologies in Saint Lucia. One of the main pieces of interest to me were some small solar panels which had very big roles. They were distributed to students in some schools along with lamps so that the students could set up solar powered lamps to help them study at night. This was no doubt a meaningful and inspiring activity which would have sparked the interest of many students in the vast potential of our island to use natural resources for sustainable energy production. During the internship I also got to learn about a solar farm operated by LUCELEC, the electrical utilities company locally, as well as their efforts to develop a wind farm on the island.

Though we are such a small island, our location and natural resources provide limitless potential for using renewable energy and I am excited to share this and hopefully inspire the younger generations who will carry on these efforts and even bring further innovation to these processes in the future.