Dollars, not guilders

By Hilbert Haar

An alert reader pointed out to me that the price the waste-to-energy plant would charge GEBE for a Kilowatt of electricity is $0.26 and not 0.26 guilders. This is correct and I apologize for the oversight.

But how does this change the equation?

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According to the National Energy Policy – published in 2013 – it costs GEBE $0.22 to produce a Kilowatt of electricity (and not 0.22 guilders as I wrote).

Assuming that a waste-to-energy facility would produce at best 20 percent of the country’s energy needs, the numbers obviously change.

On closer scrutiny, I discovered another difference. The National Energy Policy estimates the average consumption per household not at 1,500 Kilowatt per month. The largest group of consumers, a bit more than 11,700, is connected to a two/three phase meter and consumes on average 587 Kilowatt per month.

The number of 1,500 Kilowatt I mentioned earlier, is the correct average for all GEBE -consumers – so including commercial establishments.

Let’s go with the new numbers for residential energy consumers. Currently, it costs GEBE 587 times $0.22 = $129.14 to produce that amount of electricity.

If 20 percent of that amount is now going to cost not $0.22 but $0.26, the new total becomes slightly higher.

Twenty percent of 587 equals roughly 117; the waste-to-energy plant would charge $30.42 for that. The remaining 460 Kilowatts comes at the current production price for a total of $101.20, bringing the costs for 587 Kilowatts to $131.62.

Consumers would therefore pay $2.48 more per month, assuming that GEBE abides by these numbers. That’s a mere $0.08 per day.

Therefore, after recalculating, the question nobody ever asked before remains the same: do you want to pay $0.08 per day more for your electricity to contribute to what I consider a partial solution?

One reader wrote in a comment that she disagrees that building a waste-to-energy facility is the first step towards a solution for our garbage blues.

Well, yes and no. As I pointed out such a facility will not make the fires on the dump go away. Forget it. But if the island does not want to get buried under its own garbage, something needs to be done.

A waste-to-energy plant that burns all the rubbish we produce and that also mines part of the existing dump achieves at least one thing. It makes sure that the volume of the dump does not increase anymore.

That St. Maarten will be stuck with that huge pile of rubble for the next couple of generations is a given. And that the dump will keep catching fire is a given too.

Unless, of course, there is a reader who has a brilliant and affordable solution nobody has ever thought of before.

Your comments are more than welcome.

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Source: StMaartenNews http://stmaartennews.com/opinions/dollars-not-guilders/

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