By Government of the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands, (BVI) – Premier and minister of finance, Andrew A. Fahie has announced that the government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to strengthening the Territory’s energy supply and reducing its carbon footprint delivering the 2022 budget Address, referenced the contract signed between the Anegada Hybrid Renewable Energy and Battery Energy Storage System Project that is anticipated to reduce fossil fuel usage on Anegada by 95 percent during the first quarter of 2023; while allocated $200,000 for tourism infrastructure development to developing the Territory’s tourism product.
Anegada Hybrid Renewable Energy and Battery Energy Storage System Project
“This will surpass the government’s target of reducing fossil-fuel-based generation by 80 percent. The system will comprise of approximately one MegaWatt of solar PV panels and 4,078 kilowatt-hour of battery energy storage,” the premier said.
He also mentioned the 22 students from the H L. Stoutt Community College Certified Solar Technician Training Programme who received their North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Certifications.
The premier said these students will use the Anegada Hybrid Renewable Energy and Battery Energy Storage System Project to gain the necessary practical experience that will put them in a position to catapult the Renewable Energy Industry in the Virgin Islands. The VI will lead in this area, he added.
The Territory’s execution of renewable energy and fossil fuel reduction is not only limited to Anegada. The premier explained that the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) is progressing feasibility assessments with respect to exploring the renewable energy potential for utility-scale solar PV generation and penetration on the national transmission grid infrastructure in Paraquita Bay, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda.
Premier Fahie encouraged residents to transition to clean renewable energy, noting a number of incentives including a zero tax on clean energy equipment for one year in the first instance and other incentives for persons to switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.
The premier explained construction work on the BVIEC’s headquarters on Virgin Gorda will commence in 2022 following the destruction of the former headquarters during the hurricanes of 2017.
“This headquarters is expected to utilise sustainable and greener strategies following the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. Once completed, it will be the first LEED certified building in the Virgin Islands,” he said.
The premier said several projects will be undertaken including the construction of bathroom facilities at Brewer’s Bay as well as a number of upgrades to the Virgin Gorda Taddy Bay Airport to include a new welcome centre, the expansion of the runway, repairs to the rescue boat, an emergency drill, and updating briefing packs for flight crews.
Premier Fahie also affirmed that the TB Lettsome International Airport will also benefit from a runway expansion, adding that funding is already appropriated in this year’s and next year’s budgets.
The premier said that in spite of setbacks incurred during these challenges times, the BVI Tourist Board, BVI Ports Authority, BVI Airport Authority, along with public and private institutions, have been working collectively to attract visitors whilst simultaneously ensuring that the Territory is both a competitive and sustainable destination.
“Where tourism is one of the Virgin Islands’ two major economic drivers, any progress we can realise at this time…will be of benefit to our economy, our taxi operators, restaurants, tour operators, domestic ferries, land and sea-based entrepreneurs, museums, national parks, sailing companies, and all the entrepreneurs and businesses that service our visitors,” said premier Fahie, Highlighing the many successes the VI has seen thus far in its tourism sector since reopening, including the BVI delegation’s success at the 2021 Seatrade Cruise Global Conference which resulted in the confirmation of 176 extra calls to the Virgin Islands beginning October 2021 up until 2024, as well as additional international round trip ferry services, the upcoming reopening of the Taddy Bay Airport, the continuation of the Anegada Lobster Fest, and culture and tourism month.
Premier Fahie concluded by stating that government and other relevant stakeholders are actively involved in innovating the VI’s tourism product by exploring areas such as nature tourism. He also reminded the public of the national tourism strategy which will facilitate this innovation in a comprehensive manner.
“The national tourism strategy when completed in 2022, will be the blueprint for all aspects of shaping and positioning of the Virgin Islands’ tourism industry in the current global landscape,” the premier said, adding, “This strategy will also provide us with even more modern approaches in how to improve, enhance and sustain our tourism industry.”
– Nia Douglas, Information Officer I
Department of Information and Public Relations