It is a great honor and pleasure for me to be here with you today. A few days ago I traveled from Germany to attend this event and it is my first time in this beautiful island of Saint Christopher and Nevis. Since my arrival I have experienced the rich culture of this nation and the hospitality of its people. This country is truly blessed.
As previously mentioned, I’m Martin Vogt, Chief Executive Officer of MPC Energy Solution. MPC Energy Solution is an independent power producer with a focus on sustainable energy infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean. We develop, finance, build and operate power plants among others in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Just 6 months ago, MPC Energy Solutions joined Solec Power as a shareholder and we are very pleased with the progress of the project culminating in today’s celebration of the construction start.
We are guided by our corporate vision in which we: “…envision a world where everyone has access to clean and affordable energy. One where the growing demand for energy can be met while preserving resources for future generations.”
This project will bring the people of St Kitts and Nevis and us one step closer to that vision and that’s why we’re here and part of Solec Power.
Today marks the start of a pioneering hybrid renewable energy project that combines solar power and battery storage not just for Saint Kitts and Nevis, but for the entire Caribbean region. This is the first of its kind and the first utility-scale power plant to combine these two technologies here in the region.
Once operational, this project will demonstrate the material advantages that hybrid projects can offer for the generation and storage of energy, grid integration and grid support as much as a competitive cost basis compared to conventional power.
Mitigating climate change has become a top priority for countries around the world incl. my home country Germany and even more so for island nations like St. Kitts & Nevis. For Island nations, which are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, it is a requirement for survival. Island States face a unique set of challenges, such as being burdened by some of the world’s highest energy costs due to their remote locations and other constraining factors.
And although the island nations are enriched with renewable energy sources like sunlight and wind, they still rely heavily on foreign oil and gas imports to meet growing electricity demands.
Globally, island nations import fuel for an average of 5 to 10% of their GDP, and governments spend up to 30% of foreign exchange earnings on energy imports each year. According to Climate Analytics, 1 megawatt (MW) of solar energy replacing oil-based energy saves a utility about $150,000 per year over its at least 25-year lifetime. You can estimate the potential savings offered by building this project now.
Especially in times like now, with significant geopolitical uncertainties, high volatility in oil and gas prices and fuel supply disruptions, the introduction of renewable energies is not only the way to reduce CO2 emissions, but equally to sustainable economic and social development, energy security as well as political stability.
With the start of construction, we reach an important milestone for this country on its path towards a greener future today.
I am confident that in the very near future representatives from other Caribbean governments and utilities will visit this power plant to learn about the technology and the benefits.
All of this would not be possible without the extraordinary support of this government, particularly the continued support of Prime Minister Harris, the ministers involved and SKELEC. Many Thanks.
The importance and quality of this project is also evidenced by the financing of our mandated lender CIBC. CIBC is the leading bank financing the energy transition and the first bank to provide financing to a utility scale hybrid project in the Eastern Caribbean.
We as Solec Power and its shareholders Leclanche, Solrid and MPC Energy Solutions are all truly committed to this $75 million project. We are complementary partners
bringing together each relevant experience in the technology, construction and long-term operations of renewable energy plants.
With this project, St. Kitts & Nevis will become a leading renewable energy nation in the Caribbean. Before I finish my notes today I would also like to emphasize that renewable energy is a way to democratize the energy sector. At Solec Power we sincerely consider ourselves part of the community here in Basseterre. We are committed to the highest environmental and social standards.
I look forward to returning to the island no later than next year to celebrate the start of operations and the delivery of green power to SKELEC.
Many Thanks for your attention.