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Saba receives EU funding to expand renewable energy



The European Commission recently adopted the Multi-annual Indicative Program for Saba, setting the joint priorities for cooperation for 2021-2027 and providing a dedicated financial envelope from the European union (EU) budget of 4.1 million euros in the form of grants. The funding will go towards investments in renewable energy.


The Public Entity Saba recently received the good news on the adoption of the Multiannual Indicative Program (MIP) 2021-2027 for EU cooperation with Saba from Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships and Member of the European Commission, in a letter addressed to Island Governor Jonathan Johnson.


“This decision represents a very significant milestone in reinforcing and concretizing our partnership built on shared objectives, principles and values. It provides us with the mandate to define concrete actions in the mutually-agreed priority area of renewable energy, thus advancing the objectives and envisaged results for the benefit of Saba and your citizens,” stated Commissioner Urpilainen in the letter to Johnson.


Energy Sector Strategy

The 4.1-million-euro funding is for the implementation of Saba’s Energy Sector Strategy 2020-2025. The updated energy strategy reflects Saba’s focus on the transition towards a sustainable, affordable and reliable energy supply. This policy allows to reinforce important earlier joint achievements of the partnership between the EU and Saba.


Through the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) territorial program, the EU had previously contributed to Saba’s energy strategy and (partially) funded the island’s new solar parks at the airport, achieving a 40 percent renewable energy coverage per 24 hours, bringing Saba closer to its goal of 100 percent renewable energy.


It was jointly agreed by the Public Entity Saba and the European Commission that the priority area of the EU territorial program 2021-2017 will continue to be sustainable and resilient energy, under the auspices of improving Saba’s overall resilience. According to the European Commission, this is important work in progress which requires to be further consolidated in order to safeguard a genuine renewable energy transformation.


Solar parks

With the EU support, and through the construction of the solar parks, Saba has already achieved 40 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources when measured over 24 hours. Saba’s Energy Sector Strategy sets out the goal and steps to increase this to 60 percent by 2025. The ultimate target is to achieve 100 percent renewable energy in the near future.


This will not only make Saba more resilient and sustainable, using its natural resources, but it will also reduce the dependence on imported fossil fuel and lower the cost of electricity production which will ultimately benefit Saba’s consumers.


Commissioner Rolando Wilson welcomed the confirmation from Brussels of the approved grant for Saba. He said that the grant will go a long way towards generating sustainable and affordable electricity. “This will help to keep the electricity at a rate that is affordable for the people on Saba, while at the same time creating a stable energy supply, generating power using our natural resources,” he said.


Wind power

To increase the share of total renewable energy coverage beyond the 2025 target of 60 percent, Saba is currently conducting feasibility studies and looking at adding wind power. The duration of the MIP for Saba is 7 years. The EU support will address among other things: an energy efficient program, the construction of an additional 1-Megawatt renewable energy structure with focus on wind or solar energy and the upgrade of the electric grid to a smart grid.


A possible location for the installation of wind turbines is the harbor where previous studies have found that wind speed is favorable. Saba will do the necessary environmental research, impact assessment studies and evaluations before implementing any new infrastructures to ensure that this will have no negative impact on Saba’s soil, air and water.

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