CASTRIES: St. Lucia is embarking on its first renewable energy project with the construction of a test tower that will assess the potential for a 12 megawatt wind farm on the island’s east coast.
The project is being undertaken by the government in collaboration with electricity generating company LUCELEC and WindTex Energy, a U.S.-based company.
A government announcement noted that in order to prepare a bankable proposal to ensure the success of this venture, WindTex Energy must collect wind energy data at the site and at the turbine hub height of 60 metres.
The test tower will be used to collect data on wind speed, wind direction, humidity and barometric pressure for a period of about six months.
“The data collected will feed in to a model to determine the feasibility of establishing wind turbines that can provide lower cost energy to the population of St Lucia,” the statement said.
The tower is situated a few meters off the highway, in the vicinity of the Bordelais Correctional Facility.
Pre-feasibility studies identified this site as the preferred one for wind-generated energy. WindTex Energy has also secured a lease agreement with the landowners for the establishment of the wind farm.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Sylvester Clauzel, said the construction of the test tower is a significant milestone in St Lucia’s quest to achieve 35 per cent renewable energy independence by the year 2020.
He said the initiative complements the surface exploration for geothermal energy currently taking place in the west coast town of Soufriere, which is seeking to provide a 15 megawatt base-load facility, and eventually expanding to 30 megawatts.
Project manager Daune Heholt said the proposed wind farm is an exciting project that can positively shape the energy landscape of St Lucia.
“The project developer, WindTex Energy, based in Dallas, Texas has extensive experience in all aspects and phases of wind energy development,” he said.