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Fielden calls for more use of wind and sun to generate electricity

Russ Fielden – very concerned about increasing electricity cost from Grenlec

Hotelier and former President of the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (GHTA), Russ Fielden has called for the island to look increasingly towards alternative sources of energy like the sun and wind to help hotels that are reeling financially from the effects of high electricity costs at their plants.

Addressing a public consultation hosted by government on the 2023 budget to be presented later this year, Fielden charged that the foreign imported oil used by the island’s sole power generating company known as Grenlec to provide the energy that is needed by the hotels is now very expensive.

He said that the electricity bill at his own True Blue Bay Resort hotel in the south of the island has gone up by approximately 95% in recent months and is just unsustainable for his business.

According to Fielden, Grenada has adequate sun and wind to start the process of looking at alternative sources to produce energy.

“We must dedicate some serious capital funding towards putting some wind and solar energy systems into the country so that we can produce our own energy and not rely on Saudi Arabia and Russia and or whoever else for our energy.” he said.

“We cannot and we will not be able to move forward until we develop a system (for) generating our own electricity.”

Fielden called on the newly elected Congress government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to give incentives so that the private sector can get more deeply involved in this area.

He also suggested that every roof on the island including home, schools and business places should be covered with solar panels on top of them to help generate energy from the sun to provide cheaper electricity.

The hotelier noted that wind generators are now relatively very cheap in comparison to what the prices were several years ago and the island can now buy a 1 megawatt wind generator for about $3 million.

“We don’t need a great number of these to supply the whole country with electricity,” he said.

Fielden also told the budget consultation session that was attended by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dickon Mitchell, that if more windmills and solar panels are brought into play, the island can actually start to generate green hydrogen which is normally expensive to produce but the cost involved will now be much more bearable.

According to the hotelier the Green hydrogen that is produced can then be used to power trucks and especially buses.

“We need to put some emphasis on the generation of electricity so that we can become independent – we need to become an independent nation,” he said.

Fielden contended that with hotels continuing to pay these “high energy costs” it is definitely not good for the growth and development of the tourism industry.

“We will not be able to become competitive regionally and internationally so it is critical that we move forward as fast as possible to get our energy systems up to speed,” he said.

Within the past twenty years, tourism has become critical to Grenada’s development as it now brings in the bulk of the foreign exchange earnings and surpassing that from the export of agricultural produce such as cocoa, nutmeg and mace.

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