Antigua's plans to boost country’s electricity supply

By Carlena Knight at Antigua Observer

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Moves to expand the country’s electricity network took a major step forward yesterday one of the initial phases in the creation of a 40-megawatt liquid natural gas fuel terminal was officially launched.

The ribbon cutting ceremony took place at APUA’s Crabbs Peninsula site where the 40 mega-watts Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Fuel Terminal project will be constructed and operated.

This environmentally friendly initiative is expected to “not only positively impact the country’s environment as it will produce cleaner energy”, but will also “ascend Antigua and Barbuda to the forefront of this new cutting-edge technology in the Eastern Caribbean as the twin island will be the first Caribbean country in the sub-region that will use LNG fuel to power the country, sticking to the government’s commitment for greener energy”.

In fact, APUA’s General Manager, Esworth Martin revealed that they have already received calls from neighbouring countries about the plan.

“We have gotten calls already from sister utilities who are looking at this model and want to follow suit. We are going to share our experiences with CARILAC as well, but as far as our footprint and our investment in this new fuel, it is well underway. Barbuda is going to also be a green experience and that is the first in the OECS and by late September, early October that is going to happen. So, it is a pursuit that modernises APUA and realises the government’s objective with the reduction of carbon emissions,” Martin said.

He explained that this project will be another major revenue booster for APUA.

“The structure of the arrangement we have will see APUA become the owner in 12 years. So, in terms of a new revenue stream, it will be a new one that will exist. Obviously, LNG is a fuel that is going to be more widely used throughout the region and we are all cognizant of the fact that there is a drive for the world to reduce carbon emissions and this is the way forward,” he added.

Despite it being a multi-million-dollar project, Martin explained that it will in no way impact the pockets of the people as prices are expected to remain the same.

He also mentioned that the project will work alongside the present plant as there are still contractual agreements that stipulate that they must do so. He did, however, explain that it is their intent to operate solely through the LNG plant sometime in the future.

The fuel will be provided by Texas-based firm Eagle LNG, while training sessions with local individuals have already begun with the help of the Antigua Power Company Ltd (APC) — both of whom are working alongside APUA on this project.

Despite many of the businesses associated with this group believe that the project will support achieving a greener, safer country, there are many critics who say that LNG, despite being the cleanest of the fossil fuels, is neither clean nor particularly low in emissions. Some have even noted that it plays a significant role in rising greenhouse gases across the world.

Last year, APUA advertised for expressions of interest to create the facility which triggered some controversy among those who feel the country should be making greater strides towards renewable energy.

Construction is expected to begin in October this year, while commercial operations are expected to get underway by December 31, 2022.