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Gov’t promises to get active with energy legislation


Works Minister Mark Vanterpool

The National Democratic Party administration said it intends to make significant progress on the legislative front regarding renewable energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight.

Works Minister Mark Vanterpool has given the assurance that members of the House of Assembly will make the necessary changes within the next three years. However, he did not disclose the specific areas that will be adjusted.

The minister however stated that the move will result in a smaller carbon footprint for the BVI and also allow the territory to do its part in reducing global warming.

“Over the next 3 years, in conjunction with the BVI Electricity Corporation, we will modernize our legislation governing energy development, reduce consumption of electricity by some 30 percent by implementing various conservation methods and implement renewable energy systems which will diversify the way we produce our energy.

“The time has now come for us to truly enter the 21st century and recognize that we too in the Virgin Islands must do our part in protecting the environment and develop alternate methods for the supply of energy.”

Vanterpool gave the assurance that, by 2023, the BVI should have almost half of its energy produced by renewable means. He said, for many years, the territory’s energy has been developed purely from fossil fuel and supplied to businesses and residents using traditional means.

In February last year, Green VI handed over draft legislation to the government and recommended that the administration swiftly revise the current legislation that restricts the use of renewable energy in the BVI.

The regulations, drafted on a pro bono basis by the law firm Harneys, would establish a process by which persons could obtain permission to install alternative energy systems at their homes or businesses. They would also open the door to grid-tie which is a type of technology which allows persons with alternative energy systems to sell energy back to the central utility.

The draft legislation was submitted along with a petition signed by more than 1,500 people who support the BVI’s move towards clean, renewable energy.

The petition states: “The BVI is blessed with abundant sunshine and trade winds. We want to use these to produce our own clean energy so we are less dependent on imported, expensive and polluting fossil fuels.”

Category/ies:British Virgin Islands.
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