GEBE agrees to take along govt.’s road map in its strategic planning | THE DAILY HERALD

Utilities company GEBE.


PHILIPSBURG–Utilities company NV GEBE has agreed to take along government’s plan for St. Maarten’s transition to renewable energy in its strategic planning.

Caretaker Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs provided the information during the live Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday. She was at the time explaining the situation with GridMarket, which government had hired to create a roadmap for sustainable energy for St. Maarten, and Energynautics GmbH, which is supporting GEBE to elevate its business and investment strategies for the delivery of reliable power across St. Maarten. GridMarket did not obtain certain information from GEBE for its road map during its assignment and the road map is therefore lacking in some areas.

Jacobs said GridMarket was procured through the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations BAK to conduct research and to prepare a roadmap towards renewable energy for St. Maarten. She explained that GEBE did not always have representatives in the Energy Policy Workgroup that should have consisted of representatives of the Department of BAK, Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT), Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI and GEBE. “So, though they formed part of it … there was inconsistent participation over the years from NV GEBE based on who was the management at the time, and as you know, we had a lot of different changes during that time,” Jacobs said, adding that she was not pointing a finger at anyone in particular, but stressed that GridMarket was not able to get all the information needed from GEBE to provide government with a road map.

“So, the road map was lacking or is lacking some key information from NV GEBE … When we did get them on board, they were busy with the hack … and many consultants [were – Ed.] actually assisting the temporary management in assessing and making a plan on the way forward. It is with that, that management took up the opportunity to make use of a Trust Fund project,” she said. She explained that part of the Trust Fund was to continue building resiliency and given that some funds had been available for strategic planning, also towards renewable energy and its business plan, GEBE made use of the opportunity. “With the finances being what they were, management made use of that opportunity and so the consultant [Energynautics] was procured via that.”

She said Energynautics is working out a strategic business plan for NV GEBE and in doing so is also assessing the company’s grid, production, usage and all the data that exists within GEBE to be able to come up with what’s best for GEBE to be able to transition to renewable energy.

“I’ve asked GEBE to take along government’s plan in their strategic planning and they have agreed to do that,” Jacobs stressed. “It does not mean that GridMarket will be the company they use moving forward. They were who government used to get their road map. So, there continues to be a back and forth on why this one and why that one. They needed to do their complete due diligence. There was the funding available for it and they are busy with all of the upgrades necessary to be able to do the billing etc. as well.”

The two plans, she notes, are supposed to be meshed. “It is supposed to be synchronised and not two different floating things out there, because at the end of the day, government is shareholder of GEBE and government also has the power with the concession where GEBE is concerned, so we will ensure that our plans are aligned – the incoming government will have to do that.”

Source: The Daily Herald