St Lucia



National Flag of St. Lucia

The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres (3,120 ft) above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the island’s most famous landmark. They are located between Soufrière and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that boasts a drive-in volcano. The volcanic complex includes a geothermal field with sulphurous fumaroles and hot springs.

The capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries, where about one third of the population lives. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufrière and Vieux Fort.



Saint Lucia to develop a sustainable energy plan

Energy is a vital component of development, affecting both economic and social growth. Realizing development beyond that of a subsistence economy requires at least minimum access to energy services by a high percentage of the population. Most developing countries are forced to depend on inefficient and polluting energy sources owing to their struggling economies and a general absence of relevant technology to explore alternative sources. However, recently the island of Saint Lucia took the bold step of endeavouring to become the world’s first sustainable energy country.


Saint Lucia is a volcanic island located in the Eastern Caribbean. Its’ natural beauty has made it an increasingly popular tourist destination. This, along with rapid development, has contributed to a growing demand for energy. The local utility LUCELEC has an exclusive license to generate and distribute electricity and currently supplies about 98% of the population. Electricity generation is characterized by total dependence on diesel-powered generators. Cognisant of the need to address and ensure the long-term sustainability of the energy sector, the Government recently approved the development of a sustainable energy plan for Saint Lucia.


Currently, energy experts from the Climate Institute and the Organization of American States, together with the Ministry of Planning, Development, Environment and Housing are finalizing the plan. This plan lays out a strategy for the maintenance and growth of the energy sector in Saint Lucia through effective management. It seeks to attain a set of energy sector targets through the implementation of actions which will create a policy and regulatory framework to encourage diversification of the local energy market and the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation.

Renewable energy

Much research has already been undertaken into Saint Lucia’ s geothermal resource but an additional assessment of the island’s market potential for renewable energy is needed. Potential energy sources include biomass, wind, solar and geothermal. These energy sources can provide energy services with almost zero emissions whilst improving local technology and providing job opportunities. The plan aspires to produce an electricity generation mix by introducing a Renewables Portfolio Standard that will ensure that a specific percentage of electricity is generated via renewable-energy systems. This will ultimately result in 20% of installed capacity being delivered from renewable sources by 2020.


The current exclusive arrangement with the electric utility may not allow for the achievement of the renewable-energy targets in the plan. Hence the plan makes provision for experienced independent power producers to establish projects that can sell electricity derived from renewable sources to the local utility. Such an endeavour will require the appropriate regulatory framework to support it, including regulations governing the relationships between independent power producers and the local utility. Policies that permit companies to generate their own electricity while maintaining a continuous link to the power grid are also proposed.


Solar energy is perhaps the most abundant renewable energy source in Saint Lucia. A solar heating initiative is planned to generate an increase in the use of solar water heaters. This will significantly reduce the high cost of water heating for both the residential and commercial sectors. Tax concessions have been introduced to combat the high initial costs of solar water heaters. Solar photovoltaic systems are currently being grid connected for both residential and commercial customers under a net metering policy. The systems are limited in size at 5kWp for residential and 25kWp for commercial installations.


The increased use of renewable-energy technologies in Saint Lucia requires the appropriate national technical capacity. This is being provided through training initiatives aimed at utility personnel and potential project developers. A national renewable energy education and awareness programme is also planned to communicate the advantages of renewables to the general public. The Government of Saint Lucia also hopes to take the lead role in the creation of a dedicated renewable energy fund. This fund will provide concessional financing for renewable energy project feasibility studies and for project investment.



The transportation sector is a major consumer of energy but is perhaps the most difficult area to control, as it requires a major change in human attitudes and behaviour. Currently all vehicles are gasoline or diesel powered. The sustainable energy plan seeks to investigate options for the use of alternative fuelled vehicles. At the moment, electric and hybrid powered vehicles are being considered, but biofuel and compressed natural gas (CNG) are also receiving attention.



The adoption and implementation of the sustainable energy plan will have significant economic and environmental benefits for Saint Lucia. The effective management of the energy sector will ultimately result in a reduction in local energy costs and foreign exchange spent on fuel imports. Exploitation of indigenous and renewable sources of energy will provide insulation from volatile oil price fluctuations and provide opportunities for investment, employment and technological advances. In addition, the plan encourages an improvement in air quality, which has implications for public health. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will reinforce Saint Lucia’s commitment to the local and global environments.


Through this initiative, Saint Lucia will effectively demonstrate the feasibility and advantages to be derived from sustainable energy policies to a global audience. Energy sustainability entails a change in attitude and behavioural patterns at every level of a small society and major shifts in public policy. In this case however, small size may work to St. Lucia’s advantage by positioning her to take the leading role and demonstrate how energy strategies can simultaneously benefit the environment, the economy and human well-being.


Some Achievements:

  • -St. Lucia Geothermal Project
  • -Solar powered Ferry
  • -Saint Lucia Banana Industry Trust‘s (BIT) Photovoltaic Project
  • -LUCELEC pilot project with Solar Saint Lucia Limited
  • -Wind energy powers fishing community of Praslin


CIPORE Focal Point Office

Judith Ephraim
Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology
Price Waterhouse & Coopers Building,
Point Serephine, St. Lucia



Fast Facts

  • Capital: Castries
  • Official Languages: English
  • Demonym : Saint Lucian
  • Government: Parliamentary democracy and Federal constitutional monarchy
  • Independence : 22 February 1979
  • Area: 620 km2 /239 sq mi
  • Population: 160,765 (est. 2005)
  • Currency: East Caribbean dollar

RE Snapshot

  • RE Interests: Biomass, wind, solar, geothermal
  • RE Target: 20% by 2020
  • Utility Company: St. Lucia Electricity Services (LUCELEC)
  • RE in Grid Supply: 0.07% Grid Tied Solar PV
  • Energy Institutions: Sustainable Development and Environment (SD&E) in the Ministry of Physical Development, Environment and Housing, the Electrical Services Division of the Ministry of Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities and the Office of Private Sector Relations (OPSR) in the Prime Minister’s Office.

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