MP Emmanuel had an electricity solution since 2016



PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Tuesday said that had political maturity prevailed in 2017, St. Maarten would have had a groundbreaking project to establish a state-of-the-art waste processing plant with an integrated energy-generating component. This initiative would have been a pivotal move towards enhancing environmental sustainability and energy efficiency on the island.

“There was an approved Council of Ministers decision for a proposal. There was also an LB (national decree) that reached all the way to the governor. The contract and MOU were ready to be signed. All agreements were in place. I had a plan for our power issues. It is such a shame that the people of St. Maarten must suffer through electricity outages in 2024 when there was a plan in place and ready to go a few years ago. But because of politics and twisting of the truth by certain individuals, here we are today suffering from their lack of vision,” MP Emmanuel said.

In response to the urgent need for advanced waste management solutions, Emmanuel, during his tenure as Minister of VROMI, launched an initiative aimed at addressing the critical waste management challenges faced by the island.

Emmanuel recognized that significant enhancements in waste management was imperative for St. Maarten due to several pressing concerns, including, but not limited to, landfill capacity, environmental hazards, the need to complement electricity production and the impact of the island’s tourism Impact.

His plan centered around his commitment to developing a sustainable, future-proof solution for managing the approximately 130,000 tons of solid waste generated annually. A new plant with a thermal treatment capacity of 100,000 tons per year would have been constructed and maintained at Pond Island to handle the burnable waste.

“When I hear media people say there was nothing done, I ask myself if they were paying attention. Had we pushed through with the EnviroGreen plan, the people of St. Maarten would never have had to deal with power outages again,” Emmanuel stated.

He continued: “Some of the same people asking for your vote today were responsible for killing this plan back then and by extension are responsible for what you are going through today. Now they want to come with solutions and act like this is all new. It’s not new, its willfully and purposely delayed due to their actions,” he stressed.

MP Emmanuel pointed out that the number of direct and indirect benefits that the plan would have delivered were immeasurable. “Obviously energy would not have been an issue which would have strengthened our business sector, our infrastructure and move us into the future on a renewable energy track. Our reliance on fossil fuel would have been reduced that by 60% which would have reduced the cost our people have to pay in fuel clause. Additionally 150 plus jobs would have been created, the landfill would have been solved and more. Again I say, this situation could have been avoided years ago.”

The planned facility would have encompassed installations and infrastructure necessary for receiving, processing, recycling, and exporting waste streams. The plant would have also converted waste into energy, contributing to the island’s electricity supply.

The Waste-to-Energy Plant would have been constructed using advanced thermal gasification technology. This cutting-edge method would not only process waste but also generate a substantial amount of energy, making the project both environmentally and economically beneficial for Sint Maarten. Let’s not forget that the present Irma debris landfill would also have been cleared up, but instead we have a bigger new landfill on our hands.

Emmanuel explained that the concessionaire was ready to enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with GEBE. GEBE would have granted the Concessionaire permission to design, build, finance, operate, maintain, and transfer the electricity-generating component of the plant. The Concessionaire would then sell all electricity produced (but not used) by the plant to GEBE, ensuring a consistent and reliable supply of energy for the island. The plant was designed to have a net output of 9.3 megawatts (one new engine), based on a guaranteed caloric value of 770,000,000 megajoules per year.

“This initiative would have marked a significant step forward in waste management for St. Maarten, promising to enhance environmental safety, improve public health, and boost the island’s attractiveness as a tourist destination. Not to mention solve our power issues. But politics, envy and lack of vision has us where we are today and we did not have to be here,” Emmanuel concluded.

The MP was also the first MP to suggest a practical temporary solution by suggesting the usage of containerized generators to address the ongoing power supply crisis.