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Alternate energy sources for VI explored in Spain

Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool visited the Irradia Solar Energy Farm in Seville, Spain while attending the GSMA World Mobile Summit. Photo: Ministry of Communications and Works
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - In keeping with Government’s Legislative Agenda to consider alternative forms of energy usage for the Territory, Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool visited the Irradia Solar Energy Farm in Seville, Spain while attending the GSMA World Mobile Congress.

Irradia Energy is a firm that specializes in the promotion and installation of renewable energy projects through the use of solar and wind sources and is the second largest solar manufacturer in Spain.

The solar farm was toured by the Minister and Acting Permanent Secretary, Arlene Smith-Thompson. The farm is an intricate operation that sits on 52 acres and produces a nominal power of 16 mega watts that is fed unto the national grid. The operation consists of hundreds of solar modules, inverter rooms for the power transformation and transformers.

The modules, which can either, be moving or fixed structures, can last for up to 30 years.

According to Minister Vanterpool, when compared to the current generating capability of our local electricity company which has a capacity of 44 mega watts and peak demand of 32 mega watts, the introduction of a solar source could partly reduce our dependence on fuel driven energy.

The challenge he noted for such an operation, however, would be the availability of flat land even though the solar panels can also be placed on roof tops of large commercial-sized buildings.

Part of Irradia Energy’s company profile is its experience in creating local investment opportunities in areas where the company operates. This form of investment, it was noted, can realize returns within a short period of time.

It is also a good form of job creation as solar modules and inverter equipment must be maintained regularly. The utilization of such technologies must also have the full support of government to provide certain incentives for investment, including policies and legislation that favour the use of alternative energy sources.

This visit to the Seville solar farm was quite timely as it comes on the heels of a conference that members of the BVI Electricity Corporation’s Board attended in the Bahamas last month which provided exposure to useful information from regional and international agencies that are engaged in alternative energy production and use.

Minister Vanterpool concluded that exploring alternative sources of energy to power the Territory’s electricity operations is a high priority in his ministry’s work plan. He emphasized that we must keep pace with other countries worldwide that are embracing alternative energy sources such as solar and wind.

In the Minister’s words, it is the environmentally responsible thing to do and we must get on board.

Government is committed to the introduction of policy that will encourage the use of renewable energy.

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