The Power to Change: Speech Delivered by Hon Paul J. Lewis at the Unveiling of Montserrat's First Electric Vehicle

We have demonstrated that we are promoting and introducing new technology in our energy mix, taking into account various sources of renewables including wind.

The Power to Change: Speech Delivered by Hon Paul J. Lewis at the Unveiling of Montserrat's First Electric Vehicle

Hon Minister Paul J. Lewis at electric vehicle unveiling

A pleasant Afternoon to everyone

It is my pleasure addressing you at this;

1)      Closing ceremony for several key training sessions for mechanics   - both in government and the private sector.

2)      The official introduction of our first full electric car to the people of Montserrat.

The activities featured at this event today are integral parts of our wider vision for the energy sector.

Achieving energy security is a part of this government’s priority and vision. The International Energy Agency defines energy security “as the uninterrupted availability of energy sources, at an affordable price."

Let us take a close look at the statistics of Montserrat energy profile as captured in the 2016 -2030 energy policy the power to change.

 The profile of Montserrat’s Energy consists of three (3) sources of fossil fuels, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), Diesel and Gasoline. The three fossil fuels end-use are cooking, electricity generation and transportation. The end-use average annual percentage are as follows: cooking (LPG) 8%, Electricity generation (diesel) 45% and transportation (diesel and gasoline) 47%.

Looking at those figures will convince you of the importance of addressing such vulnerabilities.

As it stands presently, every increase in a barrel of oil on the international market results in increased electricity bills -  as an increase in oil is directly related to an increase in fuel surcharge and you will also see increases in fuel costs at the pumps here in Montserrat. The cost of oil is pretty high as I speak, and reminds us how vulnerable we are if we continue to depend on fossil fuel with its fluctuating prices. This means we must  fully transition to renewable energy generation, and adopt new technologies in the transportation sector.

Montserrat is heading in the right direction one step at a time. Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored once again to speak to you on the matter of Montserrat’s Energy Transition

My fellow Montserratians, with transportation and electricity generation accounting for 92% of all fossil fuel use on island, advancement in both end-use sectors is vital. We must all welcome new technology and different ways of powering our island.

Under our renewable energy thrust

We have demonstrated that we are promoting and introducing new technology in our energy mix, taking into account various sources of renewables including wind.

 40% of our peak load will be serviced by a solar renewable source on the completion of the 1MW utility scale solar project with battery storage. This will be completed and commissioned in the first quarter of 2020. This government has moved Montserrat from zero renewable sources on the GRID for over 24 years to 40% peak load renewable generation. This will be the case when the additional 750kw with batter storage solar plant is completed.

This solar project is bringing relief to the people of Montserrat in the shortest possible time.

Under energy efficiency

Last week, and this week, we had Public Lighting Improvement consultants on island working with MCWEL and MUL to conduct the Public Lighting Improvement Assessment which will inform the implementation of LED and SOLAR lighting both for street lighting and lighting of a number of public places. The completion date for the Public Lighting Improvement Project is due end of March 2020.

Under our transportation sector electric mobility thrust

The Power to Change Montserrat Energy Policy 2016 – 2030, Policies for End Use Sector; Supplemental Objective “Improve End Use Sector” Transportation Sector state GOM will collaborate with all stakeholders to implement its policy to:

  1. Promote the development of electric, hybrid electric, and advanced vehicle technologies

  2. Amend legislation and implement tariffs for fuel efficient vehicles

  3. Facilitate public awareness campaigns and stakeholder dialogues to promote efficient transportation

The introduction of Montserrat’s first Electric car , the Nissan LEAF TEKNA 2019 110KW MODEL to the people of Montserrat a start of the transportation transition led by this government.

Our first electric vehicle arrived at Port Little Bay last week. Please keep an eye out for our first hybrid to form part of the Government of Montserrat’s  fleet of vehicles by the end of this year 2019.

Both vehicles will be used in the design, development and implementation of the EV and hybrid Electric Vehicles Pilot project, geared at advancing critical initiatives in the Montserrat energy transportation sector transition.

  • The purchase of Montserrat’s first EV and introducing hybrid to government fleet of vehicles

  • Training of auto mechanics and the first responders (police & fire)

  • Incentives geared at encouraging the purchasing of EV’s and hybrid electric vehicles

  • And the community energy public awareness campaigns.

On August 1st  Cabinet approved tax import duties concessions for the following;

i.            All 100% electric vehicles (EV) imported to be exempted from Customs Duties and Consumption tax for 5 years - Processing Fee of 5% will be payable in all cases.

ii.            All Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles imported to be exempt from Customs Duties only for 2 years.

iii.            All other Hybrid Vehicles (i.e. other than Plug-In Hybrid vehicles) imported are to be exempt from Consumption Tax only for 2 years.

iv.            All Charging stations to be imported to be exempt from Customs Duties and Consumption Tax for a period of 5 years - Processing Fee of 5% will be payable in all cases.

All replacement batteries exempted from Customs Duties and Consumption Tax for a period of 5 years - Processing Fee of 5% will be payable in all cases

I urge you to pay keen attention to the implementation of the power to change energy policy which will be a game-changer for our island.

Less talk and more action is an appropriate motto. While some governments in the past talked, they left their policies on the shelf to gather dust. This government however is implementing its energy policy 2016-2030 -  the power to change.

The Ministry of communication works Energy and labour will partner with the community and private sector to conduct renewable energy and energy efficiency public awareness community activities. The public engagement campaigns are effective in bringing onboard citizens of Montserrat, making them aware of the requirements of 100% renewable electricity generation and increasing energy efficiency within households, businesses and organisations and the importance of introducing the electric and hybrid electric vehicles pilot project. This is part of Montserrat’s energy sustainable development.

The repair and maintenance of EV’s and Hybrid Electric Vehicles requires trained auto mechanic technicians. The safe handling of EV’s and Hybrid Electric Vehicles at traffic incidents requires trained first responders (police and fire). MCWEL has worked with ICT Workshop Solutions from Skipton England to provide three (3) separate but related training courses all certified by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) QCF Qualifications. The training program covers the dates of August 6th to 23rd inclusive.

Week 1: Diagnostics, total training days 4.

IMI Awards Automotive Diagnostic Procedures QAA-ICTWOR-02 – Automotive Engine Management & Diagnostics. An in-depth understanding of modern engine management systems and diagnostic methods used to identify many problems encountered.  The training duration 3 days for Auto mechanic Technicians.

Air Conditioning Systems Diagnosis, Service, Repair and Refrigerant Handling Certification 600/4331/3 - IMIAL Level 3 Award in Automotive Air Conditioning Servicing and Maintenance (EC842-2006) (QCF).

Week 2: Int Level 3 EV Repair & Replacement, total training days 4.

IMIAL Level 3 Award in Electrically Propelled Vehicle Repair and Replacement (QCF) QFQUAL I.D: 600/0527/0 (International INT-EV3-A). This award is designed for technicians who maintain and repair electric/hybrid vehicles. It contains the knowledge and skills required to work safely in and around the vehicle's high & low voltage electrical system and electric drivetrain system whilst carrying out repairs or maintenance. The training duration 3 days for Auto mechanic Technicians.

Week 3: Int Level 2 EV Hazard Awareness, total training days 4.

IMI Awards Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Hazard Management QFQUAL I. D. 600/0525/7 IMIAL Level 2 Award. To create a safe working practice routine for anyone who must work with Hybrid and HV Electric vehicles.

I am proud to report that monies have been well spent on Montserrat’s mechanics and first responders. I am convinced of value for money after hearing the testimonies of the participants. I use this opportunity to thank the permanent Secretary the staff of MCWEL, Mr Owen Lewis, Mr Darren Greer  and the facilitators out of England for making the certified training courses a reality.

In closing, I  wish at this time to express with confidence that from all reports that our mechanics have done well in the courses, and are now better equipped to service our modern vehicles.  I am also confident the participants of the first responder training will do just as well. Please join me in giving them a round of applause.