“It goes without saying that the people of Saba can be proud of the achievement accomplished here today,” said Saba Electric Company (SEC) NV’s Managing Director Charles D. Johnson at the opening ceremony of Elmer Linzey Solar-Diesel Power Plant on Monday.
This milestone in the realization of reliable, durable, safe and affordable energy for the people of Saba was made possible through good partnership with the Dutch government, and, specifically, the unwavering financial support of Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp, it was stated.
Prior to attending the opening ceremony, Minister Kamp and his delegation met with Johnson and SEC’s supervisory board members James R. Hassell, Hubert R. Smith, and Roland van der Pouw at the SEC’s office to discuss current and future matters regarding the wellbeing of the company.
“When you cooperate with people, amazing things can be achieved,” said former Commissioner of Energy and current Dutch Representative of the Netherlands in Philipsburg Chris Johnson, as he spoke of the cooperation and good will of the Dutch Government.
For Johnson, the day was an emotional one, as the establishment of SEC has been “quite a process.” As then Commissioner of Energy, he negotiated with the Dutch government and with the ever-changing governments of St. Maarten to safeguard the interests of the people of Saba and to ensure that Saba would be secure following the dismantlement of NV GEBE in 2013.
The original agreement between Saba and the Dutch government, which Johnson negotiated for, was to make SEC a profitable company, while maintaining the same tariff structure. To make SEC a successful company, diesel consumption would have to be reduced by 40 per cent.
The new solar-diesel plant is SEC’s first step toward reducing its dependency on fossil fuels. With the installation of two new generators with a combined capacity of 2.3 megawatt, fuel consumption has been reduced by approximately 16 per cent. On the roof of the power plant is a 65-kilowatt solar installation, which contributes about 50 per cent of the plant’s own energy consumption. The plant, which was commissioned by Dutch company Zwart Techniek BV, first went online on February 8.
To ensure that SEC reaches the 40-per-cent target, Minister Kamp has made available funds for the investment in and development of a one megawatt solar facility. SEC is currently in the tender process of this solar project, and aims to secure a contract with a company to execute the works later this year.
The solar-diesel plant was named in honour of one of the founders of the original SEC, the late Elmer Linzey. The original electricity company was founded on August 13, 1959. Together with his aunt, the late Atthello Maude Edwards Jackson, Linzey brought electricity to Saba.
“His gift to the community of Saba was the gift of light,” said Linzey’s daughter Diane Labega, as she spoke of her father’s legacy at the ceremony.
With the new plant up and running, providing the people of Saba with reliable electricity, as was Linzey’s dream, Johnson pointed out that “the work of a good man lives on.”
The Daily Herald.