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IDEAS 2012 Launch Speech by Ken Aldonza

Good Day everyone,

In 2007 I had a great idea which I proceeded to prove can work, at least on paper. I shared my findings with some interested parties including representatives of the St.Lucian government. Everyone agreed it was a great idea, however, they also agreed that they could not fund a pilot scale version.

The idea lay dormant for two years until the end of an advertisement on television caught my attention. The IDEAS energy innovation contest for Latin America and the Caribbean first provided the opportunity and then the funding that I critically needed to materialize my idea into a tangible reality.

Today, with funding through GVEP and GIZ, our pilot ethanol plant has started production. Yes, it has moved from being my idea, to being our pilot plant because it would not have been possible without GVEP and GIZ.

The GVEP and GIZ funded banana ethanol plant is the first of its kind in the Caribbean. Through the intervention of these external funding agencies, St.Lucia now has a tool that can be used to foster greater energy independence thereby reducing the energy import bill and making more money available for the country’s development. This is in addition to having created much needed employment for a few of our many unemployed in the country.

I’ve no doubt that many such feasible ideas lay dormant in the minds of other St.Lucians and Caribbean people, just waiting for an opportunity to be funded and given life. This is what makes the Energy Innovation Contest such an invaluable tool for our development and for the liberation of would be entrepreneurs from the clutches of unemployment and poverty.

The IDEAS contest has given me an avenue to remain employed even after I lost job as a manufacturing engineer. Most qualified people would opt to migrate to seek employment, but having gotten my project funded, I can remain here to contribute in my own small way to developing our nation.

Thank you GVEP and GIZ for giving me the opportunity to make my dreams a reality and in a little way, to help make our world a better place for the people who benefit from our banana ethanol plant.

Thank you for your attention.


About Ken Aldonza

Ken Aldonza was born and raised in his island home state of St.Lucia located in the West Indies. He attained a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies. After working a few years as a manufacturing Engineer, he left St.Lucia for England to pursue a Master’s Degree in Renewable Energy Systems Technology with Loughborough University. This was made possible through a Commonwealth Scholarship.

After completing his studies in one year, Ken returned to his manufacturing job in St.Lucia. Two years later, he entered a project in the Energy Innovation contest based on his Master’s thesis.

He won a grant from GVEP and GIZ to set up a pilot ethonal plant for producing fuel grade ethanol from bananas.

Ken is also currently involved with the Vieux-Fort Lions club and a local chapter of the St.Lucia National Trust. He is an avid pool player and fan of motor racing.

Category/ies:Regional News, Regional Speeches, St Lucia Speeches.
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