Making Way for Electric Mobility in Saint Lucia
Electric Mobility is developing at a rapid pace. In 2019 the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported a doubling of the electric car fleet to 5.1 million vehicles in just 1 year. Many developed and developing countries are now seeking to integrate the use of electric vehicles and their affiliated technologies into their energy and transport sectors. Further, as climate change continues to adversely impact many countries globally, several countries have included the transition to electric mobility in their climate change policies, and targets. Saint Lucia for example, included sustainable transport as one of its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in its First Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015. In 2018, the Renewable Energy Division of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Ports and Energy with technical and financial support of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) prepared the Government Fleet Transition Strategy. This document is an analysis of the current government vehicle fleet, which includes the current cost of purchasing and maintenance of the fleet, and identifies vehicles that will soon be considered as end-of-use and makes low-carbon recommendations for the replacement of these vehicles. The report also includes the cost implications, and how the transition of the government fleet would assist with Saint Lucia achieving its international climate change targets. Further, Saint Lucia is currently in the project development phase for two projects that deal with electric mobility.
The first project has been submitted to the Global Environment Facility(GEF) for funding and is part of the “Global Programme to Support Countries with the Shift to Electric Mobility”, which will be implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This project will seek to create the best enabling environment for the shift to Electric Mobility in Saint Lucia through a series of interventions including the development of a sustainable mobile transport policy, the establishment of a national coordinating mechanism, a national low-carbon strategy. Further, components would demonstrate the use of at least 10 electric vehicles to be used by the government fleet and a procurement and maintenance policy for electric vehicles in the fleet. Increasing the number of publicly available chargers will also be a focus of this project as having a national capacity building for mechanics, drivers, and emergency responders are a large part of the project. Finally, there is a component of this project dedicated to the sustainable and clean disposal of electric vehicles. This has been recognized to be a major issue in countries throughout the world, and so the project includes a disposal policy for the end-of-life of the vehicles which will ensure that the current issues of the disposal of current internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles will not continue. The project is valued at seven hundred and eighty-five thousand, six hundred and eighty-eight United States dollars (USD$785,688) or two million one hundred and thirty-four thousand six hundred and thirty-six Eastern Caribbean dollars (XCD$2,134,636). The project is currently being reviewed by the GEF and is scheduled to begin in early 2021, and will be implemented over a three-year period.
The second project that Saint Lucia has recently developed is being submitted to the German International Climate Initiative (IKI), and is a regional project entitled, “Implementation of transport and energy contributions in the Caribbean (ITEEC) – transforming the energy and transport sectors towards a low-carbon and climate resilient future. This project is being implemented by a consortium of international and regional institutions, and is led by GIZ. There are six Caribbean countries participating in this project namely – Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica and Saint Lucia. Of these, three countries have been selected to be flagship demonstration countries – Saint Lucia, Guyana and Jamaica. Saint Lucia will be demonstrating the use of electric cars, Guyana will demonstrate electric boats, and Jamaica will be demonstrating the use of electric buses. This project will seek to implement the government fleet transition strategy by providing the financing necessary for the purchasing of electric vehicles to replace the government vehicles that have arrived at the end-of-use in the government fleet. This unique opportunity will raise awareness of the general public and public sector to the benefits and usefulness of electric vehicles. Charging infrastructure will also be increased with the funding from this project. Capacity building in the region will be focused on as the project will work directly with the University of the West Indies (UWI) on the development of courses that focus on climate change, and electric mobility. Vocational courses will also be established with local community colleges throughout the participating countries. This project has been submitted to the IKI programme with the hope of successful review. It is expected to start by mid-2021 and will be implemented over a five-year period.
It is expected that there will be continued growth in electric mobility globally as countries like Saint Lucia advance the use of electric vehicles. These two projects will ensure that Saint Lucia stay ahead of the curve as it relates to electric mobility, and therefore the people of Saint Lucia will be able to reap the greatest benefits of electric mobility.
By: Shanna Emmanuel