PM Harris: Solar and energy storage project will improve quality of life of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, December 10, 2020 (MMS-SKN) — Prime Minister and Minister of Sustainable Development, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, has said the construction of a US$70 million solar generation and energy storage project at the Basseterre National Valley Park along the Kim Collins Highway will bring improvement in the quality of life of all the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.  

“You would have heard from the corporate side the impact of this project in terms of the delivery of green energy,” said Prime Minister Harris on Thursday December 10 at the ceremony where the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in collaboration with the St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) and Leclanché SA, broke ground for the construction of the facility.  

The Honourable Prime Minister noted: “In my view, the project which we are launching officially today marks yet another signal achievement by my Team Unity Administration in which St. Kitts and Nevis continues to be a leader in the Economic Union and the greater Caribbean region.”

According to Dr Harris, in the holistic way and multifaceted approach to which his Team Unity Administration pursues the good governance agenda, the project was prioritised. He noted that the Team Unity Government begins with the end in mind, and the end must be the improvement in the quality of life of all the people in St. Kitts and Nevis. 

“In the more immediate term, I am advised that this project would see for our business sector and economy at large benefitting from a US$70 million investment project within the island of St. Kitts, but importantly there is no capital outlay from the Federal Government or SKELEC from this US$70 million investment,” said Dr Harris, noting: “It is simply for the investor to carry.”

Dr Harris observed that an approximate $30 million will be spent on local materials and services, which is in line with his Administration’s policy that whatever can be procured locally, must be procured locally. He pointed out that the project will provide immediate stimulus to the economy.

The Prime Minister had been advised that upwards of 200 jobs in construction may become available, construction being one of the sectors the Government will look to as a driver as it restarts and reboots the country’s economy. He added that land lease executed and was ongoing for the about 100 acres of land for use for the project.

“There will be hundreds of hours of heavy machinery for land clearing, for grading and site preparation of the property for hosting the solar panels, as well as cranes and trucking and heavy equipment for the material movement,” stated Dr Harris.

He told the gathering: “In other words, in the short term we should see significant economic activity where the small man and the big man like TDC and Horsford’s and others who are big, also benefitting from this project. Clearly there will be other opportunities too numerous to be mentioned here.”

The ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Infrastructure, the Hon Shawn Richards who also delivered remarks. Also delivering remarks was the Executive Vice President of Leclanché SA, Mr Bryan Urban, while the Chief Executive Officer of Leclanché SA, Mr Anil Srivastava, and Director of Soldrid Ltd Mr Rajnesh (Raj) Walia delivered remarks via video link. Closing remarks were delivered by SKELEC’s General Manager Mr Clement Jomo Williams.

The St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) Board was represented at the ceremony by Chairman Mr Don Boncamper, and members Mr Terence Byron, Mr Mahesh Nariani, Mr Alexander St. Juste, Mr Bertill Browne, and Mr Keithly Phillip.  

Others present at the ceremony included the Minister of Tourism the Hon Lindsay Grant, the Minister of Human Settlements the Hon Eugene Hamilton, Ambassador His Excellency Ian Patches Liburd, Ambassador Michael Powell, and Permanent Secretaries Mr Daryl Lloyd of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Mrs Elreter Simpson-Browne of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, and Mrs Sharon Rattan of the Ministry of Environment and Cooperatives.

“It is indeed an exciting development for our Nation at this time, literally and figuratively,” pointed out Prime Minister Harris.  “We have in this endeavour a most esteemed partner. Leclanché SA is a world leading provider of high-quality energy storage solutions – they are also the oldest battery manufacturer.”

The Honourable Prime Minister noted he had been advised that the company is committed to accelerating the country’s progress in diversifying a cleaner and greener energy future. They have over 100 years of battery and energy storage innovation, powered by German engineering and Swiss quality. He said people can have confidence in the company’s proven capability.

In his conclusion Dr Harris said that the very fact that Leclanché SA is an international partner of high repute with which the country is doing business, “that speaks well to the Government’s agenda of good governance. It speaks well to our commitment to do the very best and to bring the very best of the investor class to St. Kitts and Nevis, not fly-by-night – people with a hundred years of history of reputation to defend and to protect. They have quality standards which they must adhere to.”

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