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ANGLEC Turns To Sun For Greater Power

ANGLEC’s new solar farm (Photo Courtesy Mr. Ivor Hodge)

Rather than purchase additional generating equipment and costly fuel, the Anguilla Electricity Company (ANGLEC) has opted to use the energy of the sun to generate a greater power supply for its customers.

The project was financed by a 2.3 million US-dollar low-interest loan from the Caribbean Development Bank and was carried out by Uriel Renewables Inc., a multinational company in Madrid, Spain.  An obvious question is whether the new solar farm, built on four acres of previously bush land, will result in lower electricity rates. The answer is probably in the long run.

It is now some three months since the solar farm’s power has been tied into ANGLEC’s grid for its customers. “This is truly a success for Anguilla”, ANGLEC’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. David Gumbs, said at the inauguration of the one megawatt solar farm at the Corito Power Station on Friday, September 16. “We are small, but we are doing big things. The energy we produce here goes into our energy mix and it is distributed across the entire island. We are providing energy for over 600 households in Anguilla. Our customer-base is roughly 8,000 customers – households and commercial entities and otherwise. Six hundred is a significant step in providing over 10% of our customer base from our solar farm which we have successfully installed and commissioned.” 

ANGLEC’s CEO Mr. David Gumbs

Mr. Gumbs stressed that the project was undertaken with no incidents but was “‘a tall hill to climb and a lot of work involved night and day.” He went on: “Even today, we are working continuously to make sure we can manage the solar farm smoothly, and to have it play well with our generating plant and distribution system. Even today we are working tirelessly to handle any challenge we may face with the variability of electricity generated at the farm. Even on a clear, beautiful day, like today, we have to manage the output and the interaction of the farm with our system.”

Mr. Gumbs was grateful to the company’s staff for their hard work and the support of various other persons and entities. “I want all to know that we appreciate all that you have done to support this process and that you should be proud of our accomplishment,” he said. “We have done it well and it is doing well. Each day, that farm is producing energy and it is benefiting our country.” He promised that ANGLEC would continue to explore such alternative methods of energy, like wind power, as part of its quest to provide electricity for Anguilla.

Mr. Harold Ruan, Chairman of ANGLECs Board of Directors, said the solar farm had been built by the contractors in record time. He assured the people of Anguilla that the company would keep its rates as low as it possibly could. “The solar farm has been a daunting task, but rest assured it has been a successful one,” he stated. “While we have now joined other utility companies across the globe, with the implementation and development of renewables, we may seem to be behind after twenty-five years of the birth of ANGLEC, but rest assured we can catch up.” 

Mr. Ruan joined Mr. Gumbs in thanking everyone associated with the project for their work. He was pleased to announce that a close working relationship had been established between ANGLEC and electricity companies in Aruba in terms of the development and management of renewable energy. “We were very elated to foster and develop working relations with our friends in Aruba, and the Board has directed our CEO to hold continuous dialogue with them,” he added.

Chief Minister Mr. Victor Banks

Chief Minister, Mr. Victor Banks, who prefaced his remarks with a short history of electricity in Anguilla, said the island had now come to a point of moving into alternative sources of energy. He continued: “Our reliance on fossil fuels has put us at the mercy of oil-producing countries to the extent that we have had to put surcharges on the cost of electricity so that we can have a viable company like ANGLEC providing us with electricity. This is a small step, but it is turning the corner on technology. I would like to thank the various Boards of ANGLEC, over the years, which thought it fit to make this step with the support of the Caribbean Development Bank which has been involved in every aspect of the development of electricity over the years. I would also like to commend Uriel Renewables for winning the contract and delivering on that contract in short order, and to commend all who were involved in the process.

The Chief Minister said people in Anguilla were concerned about the cost of electricity and were wondering whether that cost would now be reduced with the implementation of the solar farm. “They are hoping that every decision that is made by ANGLEC’s Board or Management is towards the provision of much more affordable electricity services,” he pointed out. “Everybody wants to see his or her electricity bill go down so it is important that we, as a Government, support ANGLEC in its efforts.” He said those efforts included Government’s support not only for ANGLEC to have the requisite legislation in place to implement its programmes for the generation of electricity, but for consumers desirous of using alternative sources of energy.

Minister of Infastructure, Mr. Curtis Richardson cutting ribbon to solar farm along with other officials

Minister of Infrastructure, Mr. Curtis Richardson, said in part: “I believe that ANGLEC’s Management, the Board, this Government, the former Government, the former Board, and everybody else, with a vision for Anguilla to go forward with regards to renewable energy, can now rejoice that we have taken that step.” He emphasised that with the solar farm now in operation, the people of Anguilla were expecting a reduction in their electricity bills. “I know it doesn’t come overnight. These are challenging times but we must demonstrate that, in all we do, we must keep our people as our main focus,” the Minister advised.

Uriel Renewables, CEO Mr. Pedro Sanchez

Mr. Pedro Sanchez, CEO, Uriel Renewables, spoke on behalf of his company. He said it was not only the solar farm that was being celebrated, but a long dream of the people of Anguilla and ANGLEC “to reduce the dependence of Anguilla on imported fuel.” He recalled that there had been a lot of work since the start of the solar farm in December 2015, up to June 2016 when it was put into operation. “It has been challenging, but I think we overcame the difficulties mostly because we were lucky to have our team working very closely together – and in very good communication with the ANGLEC team. I honestly believe that without that very close cooperation – which we don’t find in all the projects we do – it would have been very difficult to achieve what we have achieved today.”

The closing remarks were delivered by Mr. Sylvan Brooks, ANGLEC’s Project Manager, who, among other matters, offered a general expression of thanks to all who were involved in the solar farm – and assured them that every effort would be made to handle the challenges associated with the operation of the solar farm. “This was once four acres of bush, and it is now four acres producing one megawatt of electricity. That’s a big difference,” he reflected.

As to the future, Mr. Brooks added: “We are also looking at other forms of renewable energy, and are aggressively pursuing wind energy as our next initiative to further improve our renewable penetration of the island even more.”

 

Source: http://theanguillian.com/2016/09/anglec-turns-to-sun-for-greater-power/



Category/ies:Anguilla, Anguilla Articles, Anguilla News, Anguilla Projects, Articles, News, Projects, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy.
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