Petit St. Vincent, St. Vincent and the Grenadines --- St. Vincent & The Grenadines; dock, Petite St. Vincent --- Image by © Macduff Everton/Corbis

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St. Vincent, chief island of the chain, is 18 mi (29 km) long and 11 mi (18 km) wide and is located 100 mi (161 km) west of Barbados. The island is mountainous and well forested. St. Vincent is dominated by the volcano Mount Soufrière, which rises to 4,048 ft (1,234 m).The Grenadines, a chain of nearly 600 islets with a total area of only 17 sq mi (27 sq km), extend for 60 mi (96 km) between St. Vincent and Grenada. The main islands in the Grenadines are Bequia, Balliceau, Canouan, Mayreau, Mustique, Isle D’Quatre, Petit Saint Vincent, and Union Island.

The Carib Indians inhabited St. Vincent before the Europeans arrived, and the island still sports a sizable number of Carib artifacts. Explored by Columbus in 1498, and alternately claimed by Britain and France, St. Vincent became a British colony by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. In 1773, the island was divided between the Caribs and the British, but conflicts between the groups persisted. In 1776, the Caribs revolted and were subdued. Thereafter the British deported most of them to islands in the Gulf of Honduras. Sugarcane cultivation brought thousands of African slaves and, later, Portuguese and East Indian laborers.

The islands belonged to the West Indies Federation from 1958 until its dissolution in 1962, won home rule in 1969 as part of the West Indies Associated States, and achieved full independence Oct. 27, 1979. Prime Minister Milton Cato’s government quelled a brief rebellion on Dec. 8, 1979, attributed to economic problems following the eruption of Mount Soufrière in April 1979 (which had caused the evacuation of the northern two-thirds of the island). The eruption, followed by Hurricane Allen in 1980, seriously damaged the nation’s economy, particularly the important banana crop, in the 1980s.

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The Prime Minister’s Office (www.gov.vc) is currently the Ministry of Energy and has overall responsibilities for the energy sector in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

National Energy Committee, comprising of stakeholders from other ministries and state-dependent institutions, presided over by the Office of the Prime Minister, was set up in 2006 to advise the Government on energy situations and policy, including drafting the National Energy Policy. The Energy Unit is mandated to implement energy policy, especially for the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing manages the development and distribution of energy reserves in SVG.

Government Agencies

In 2008, an Energy Unit was established in the Prime Minister’s Office with a mandate to assist with the formulation and implementation of energy policy issues, particularly in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Ministry of Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Industry is responsible for energy affairs in SVG, in particular for alternative energy sources and energy policy.

Energy Procedure

In 2010, the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines with funding under the European Union’s Special Framework of Assistance (SFA) 2006 implemented a 10-month Energy Efficiency Study aiming at identifying possible energy savings and implementing energy efficiency measures in 75 highest energy consuming Government owned buildings, in addition as part of the project, an Energy Conservation Education and Awareness Programme has been developed to raise awareness and promote energy efficient behaviors among government employees in their workplace. In addition, the SEP notes that a 2010 study of energy efficiency in government buildings, financed by the European Development Fund Special Framework of Assistance, will also include a public awareness program in its scope.

Energy Unit

Ministry of National Security
Air and Sea Port Development
Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Degree of Independence

The Ministry of Energy is a governmental department. VINLEC is autonomous in operation.

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  • Vincent and the Grenadines Geothermal Development Project
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Promoting Access to Clean Energy Services in St. Vincent (PACES) Project
  • United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) – Energy for Sustainable Development in Caribbean Buildings (ESD-Caraibes) Project
  • SIDS DOCK/ World Bank Project – Installation of 200 kW PV at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital
  • CEELP – Lighting Retrofit of the Kingstown Public Library