MARIGOT–President of the Collectivité Daniel Gibbs received representatives of the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, Saint-Barthélemy, Dutch St. Maarten and Saba on Tuesday, October 9, for the presentation of a geothermal and digital interconnection hub project for the Leeward Islands area.
As a Caribbean island, an overseas Collectivité of the French Republic and an Outermost Region (OR) of the European Union, the Collectivité of St. Martin has chosen to expand its international reach with a positive influence by resolutely placing regional integration, inter-island cooperation and the notions of sustainability and globality at the heart of its development strategy.
Consequently, the Collectivité, which will chair the Conference of Presidents of the ORs between December 2018 and January 2020, wishes to meet these challenges by promoting the concrete implementation of an Electric and Digital Interconnection Project in neighbouring territories.
This large-scale inter-island project would be carried out by the Collectivité of St. Martin as part of the European Interreg Caribbean Programme 2014-2020.
The project has two components: the Energy component, which is the driving force and trigger of this initiative, and the Digital component as a complementary enhancement. The Energy component of the project involves developing the geothermal potential of the Leeward Islands through the production and distribution of electricity via an interconnected network integrating all these territories.
The geothermal resource allows an electricity production in base, decarbonated, insensitive to climatic variations and at a much lower cost than the existing one. Among the targeted islands, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba and St. Eustatius, all located on the volcanic arc, potentially have geothermal resources.
The second part of the project involves a digital interconnection of the Leeward Islands, taking advantage of the installation of electrical cables equipped with optical fibres to create the network infrastructure.
The interconnection of the Leeward Islands will make it possible to pool the cost associated with strengthening of the digital interconnection to Puerto Rico: the installation of such a submarine cable will be all the more justifiable as it will enable all the islands to benefit from an interconnected very high speed (VHS) digital network.
This system opens up opportunities for cooperation with neighbouring islands on a wide range of topics: connected schools, cloud solutions, Internet exchange, data centre, start-up incubator, content cluster (TV, radio, social networks, etc.), tourism supply platform, etc.
The project financed by the European Interreg Caribbean programme provides at this stage for the initiation of pre-feasibility studies on the potential existence of geothermal resources on the islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Kitts, and on electricity and digital interconnection with the establishment of a partnership between the islands integrated into the network.
President Gibbs stated during his speech: “It is our ambition to ensure that our territories, with dedicated tools, can become exemplary by developing research and development (R&D), particularly in the areas of the circular economy, renewable energies and digital technology.”
At the same time, the President reiterated his wish to “continue to make progress on this project, while at the same time guaranteeing the diversity and security of our energy supplies.”