LEDS GP webinar: Towards 100% sustainable energy on the Caribbean island of Saba

Speakers: Menno van der Velde, Dr. Sergio Ugarte, Jorge L. Ventocilla, Kevin de Cuba
Location: GoToMeeting

Date: Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM EST/ 3:00 PM GMT / 4:00 PM CEST
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Many small islands share fundamental development challenges – including an over-dependency on food and fuel imports, insecurity of energy supply, and economic integration with neighboring islands. In general, these islands are striving to modernize their infrastructure and “island metabolism” from history as a colony.

With the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010, the Caribbean island of Saba became a “public entity” of the Netherlands—a general denomination for administrative divisions within the Dutch state including municipalities and provinces. Saba is still part of the Netherlands itself but preserves its autonomy, with exception of certain areas such as defense, foreign affairs and social security.

One of the early key decisions taken by Saba to redirect the economy onto a sustainable path, was to significantly improve their energy supply; namely its security, quality, affordability and resilience. Currently Saba’s entire electric supply depends on one 4 MW diesel generator built near sea level — requiring 6% of GDP for fuel imports, on top of an annual subsidy from the Dutch Government equivalent to US$750 per capita.


To begin the webinar, Mr. Jorge Ventocilla of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) of the European Union will share an overview of their current efforts to increase renewable energy deployment in the 22 island nations that are constitutionally linked to the four EU Member States (The Netherlands, Denmark, France and the United Kingdom).

Then Mr. Menno van der Velde, Senior Policy Advisor of the Government of Saba, and Dr. Sergio Ugarte of SQ Consult will discuss the technical, political and economic aspects of Saba’s decision to transform the island to 100% sustainable energy and eliminate dependence on fossil-fuel-generated electricity.

First, they will present the island’s new energy policy defined by the “Social Development Plan 2014-2020” and share the detailed energy sector strategy along with its targets and milestones. Second, they will present the two current energy infrastructure projects being implemented under public-private partnerships between the Dutch Government and the local Saba Electric Company NV.

The last portion of the webinar will be a moderated discussion hosted by Kevin De Cuba. This will include open Q&A.

Speaker bios

Menno van der Velde is currently the Senior Policy Advisor of the Government of Saba. From 2002 to 2014, he served as Secretary of the Executive Council, Advisor of the Island Governor and head of the civil servant apparatus.

Dr. Sergio Ugarte is co-founder and Managing Director of SQ Consult. He has led several studies on the design of energy markets for national governments, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and multilateral organisations. He has also served as Vice-Minister of Energy in Peru. Currently he is supporting the government of Saba for the programming of the 11th EDF budget allocation with focus on supporting the energy sector reform towards a 100% sustainable energy supply.

Jorge L. Ventocilla is the environmental expert at the Overseas Countries and Territories Association of the European Union (OCTA). In this role, he provides technical and policy advice to OCTA and its members on issues relating to sustainability, climate change, renewable energy and biodiversity

Kevin de Cuba is the Senior Program Manager for Worldwatch Institute’s Caribbean Program and is also the Executive Director of the Americas Sustainable Development Foundation (ASDF) in Aruba, Dutch Caribbean. Previously, Kevin worked in the Dept. of Sustainable Development of the Organization of American States.


Read the original case study here: LEDS GP resource: Towards 100% sustainable energy on the Caribbean island of Saba.


Image credit: Dominic Chavez/ World Bank