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Published On: Mon, Jun 24th, 2024

Politicians express concerns about energy-crisis

PHILIPSBURG -- Politicians are jumping on the energy-crisis bandwagon expressing different concerns and suggestions. URSM-MP Richinel Brug addressed concerns about public health, while DP-MP and President of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams suggested a public private partnership as a way to solve the crisis at utilities company GEBE.

Brug stated in a press release that frequent power outages affect frozen food, adding that he received several calls from citizens about this issue. “Some supermarkets do not have a generator while others are not working properly,” he observed. “This could lead to food poisoning.”

Brug acknowledges that the troubles at GEBE should not become a political football. “Coalition and opposition partners need to come together to move our country out of this current state of crisis.”

In another press release, MP Wescot-Williams points out that the Democratic Party supports the current government and that it is therefore co-responsible for its decisions. However, she notes, “if we are called on for support we must have all information.”

The Democratic Party is “actively pushing a green energy agenda,” the press release states. At the same time there are concerns about the agreement the previous government made with Gridmarket. “It limits the chances to get the best option for green energy,” Wescot-Williams states, adding that she will continue to demand insight to the Gridmarket-agreement.

MP Wescot-Williams has requested a debate in the parliamentary VROMI-committee about the TNO report entitled The energy-transition of Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten - and she must therefore be familiar with its contents.

The TNO-report notes that Gridmarket, an American consultancy-firm, proposed in 2023 to execute the energy-transition in St. Maarten. Nothing came of it, due to “disagreements and a lack of proper cooperation.”

Gridmarket’s plan involved photo voltaic installations, offshore wind energy, batteries and the use of bio fuels. The proposal was to have a third party take care of sustainable electricity production and to have GEBE buy from this company and deliver the product to consumers.

The MP furthermore emphasized that all players who are involved in the current energy-crisis must be held accountable. “But rapid decisions about the supervisory board or the management board without a plan how to proceed put us back and that we cannot afford.”
The press release labels the 2024 capital expenditures budget as far too ambitious. “Since we lack execution capacity would not a public private partnership concept be an ideal alternative?”

That is exactly what the previous government had in mind when it signed an agreement with Gridmarket. So far results remain elusive.

The TNO-report also indicates that the DP’s push for green energy is going to kill GEBE. “Financially it is more attractive for GEBE to produce based on heavy fuel oil and not to invest in PV (solar panels),” the report states. “With the current tariff-structure energy transition only results in more financial problems for GEBE.”

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Related articles:
GEBE’s tariff-structure hampers energy transition

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