Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
December 06, 2007 (CUOPM)
The Government of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is to receive technical assistance from the governments of Brazil and the United States in its efforts at developing a biofuels energy industry derived from sugar cane.
According to a report from Washington, D.C., this support was confirmed Tuesday as representatives from Brazil, the United States and the partner organisations met with St. Kitts and Nevis Minister for Sustainable Development, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty at the Caribbean-Central American Action Conference in Miami, Florida. They will meet again next February to take stock of their common efforts.
The assistance will be provided under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding to Advance Cooperation on Biofuels, signed by Brazil and the United States in March 2007.
Support was initially pledged to St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Denzil Hon. Dr. Douglas and his ministerial cabinet during a recent meeting in the Caribbean country with a team of energy experts from Brazil and the United States as well as the Organization of American States (OAS).
The Report said St. Kitts and Nevis will receive technical assistance in the form of: expert assessments of agricultural land availability for sugar production; assistance in completing a proposed national energy policy; capacity-building support for key decision makers; and support for building investor interest in the planned biofuels industry.
Discussions at the recent meeting in St. Kitts and Nevis also revolved around the next steps towards the possible resumption of sugarcane production for the creation of a biofuels energy industry in St. Kitts.
The experts presented the findings of a recently completed comprehensive biomass-to-energy assessment, which outlines critical measures to enable energy production ““ including electricity and ethanol ““ from sugarcane.
The United States and Brazil are also providing technical assistance to the Governments of Haiti, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, as these nations pursue the production of biofuels for domestic consumption. The OAS, Inter American Development Bank and UN Foundations are partners in this cooperation.
For centuries, the sugar industry dominated the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis before high production costs and falling world sugar prices led to its collapse with its official closure in July 2005.
However, rising energy prices, and the country’s absolute dependence on imported petroleum products for both electricity and transportation services, have prompted efforts to revive sugarcane production for the generation of renewable energy.