THE Barbados-based CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) has approved an additional EC$2,025,000/US$750,000 loan for the new Argyle International Airport (AIA) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The funding will be used to purchase equipment to establish a 218 kVa solar energy farm that will reduce electricity costs at the multi-million dollar facility.
CDF’s CEO, Ambassador Lorne McDonnough, explained that this pilot renewable energy project will provide approximately 35 percent of the Airport’s solar lit and air-conditioned needs at start up.
He said, “It will be the first part of a wider programme of power generation to meet the needs of the AIA at peak demand and full operation and it is expected that at full generation any excess electricity will be made available through the grid to the rest of St. Vincent.
“The CDF is promoting greening, or environmentally friendly energy projects in the region and is striving to establish the plant at Argyle as a flagship for the initiative.”
McDonnough noted that the CDF will be working with development partners with a view to eventually making the Airport the first fully ‘green’ airport in the Eastern Caribbean.
The AIA is the largest infrastructural project in which the CDF is involved, having provided EC$22.199 million/US$8.222 million in a mixture of loans and grants for the construction of the runway and apron and the acquisition and installation of the runway lighting.
The CDF has also been providing funding for ‘Green Environmentally Friendly Initiatives’ elsewhere in CARICOM, specifically in St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and Belize.