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Government’s renewable energy policy bears fruit in fishing community

The fishing community of Praslin has being afforded the unique and enviable opportunity of generating electricity from wind power. This was made possible through the efforts of Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs, the University of Vermont (UVM) and Sir Arthur Lewis Community College’s (SALCC) Department of Electrical Engineering.

This project was initiated in 2007 as a partnership between the aforementioned institutions after the fishermen in Praslin experienced difficulty in paying the electricity bills, for the power consumed at their complex.

The UVM provided the Airx-400 wind turbine, deep-cycle batteries, inverter and student labour. The local partners contributed the metal tower, wire, other components, students and local labour.

The system operated successfully for several months, before a few problems arose causing the system to go out of operation. These were attributed to problems with the tower mount, two of the turbine blades were damages and the sea blast caused damage to the power inverter rendering it non-operational.

During UVM’s recent Saint Lucia visit (January 3 – 17, 2010), students along with lecturer Lindsley Philbert of the SALCC and the representatives of the Praslin Local Development Committee carried out repair work on the system to enable it to operate more efficiently.

New blades and a 110AC inverter, which were provided by UVM was installed, while the local partners made available a transformer to step-up the voltage to 240AC. The Saint Lucia Electricity Services (LUCELEC) donated 400 feet of 35 mm cable wire for this venture.

An official ceremony will be held on Friday January 29, 2010 from 10:00am to commission the turbine into full operation. The District Representative Hon. Janine Compton and other dignitaries from Government and non-governmental institutions will be in attendance.

This is one of three (3) renewable/alternative energy projects that have been successfully undertaken in Saint Lucia by the University of Vermont. The other two (2) are installed at the Latille Waterfall in Micoud. These are a Micro Hydro power generator and a solar panel.

The UVM has vowed to render more support to Saint Lucia in the area of alternative energy and will favourable consider future projects in that regard.

Category/ies:St Lucia News.
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