The energy supply for the whole island of Saba is currently provided by the Saba Energy Company (SEC). The SEC operates a power plant (Fort Bay Harbor) fully relying on imported fossil fuels, providing electricity to approximately 1.200 households. The power plant is located close to the sea side and only 3 meters above sea level, which makes it vulnerable for hurricanes and tropical storms. This highly impacts energy supply security.
To be able to guarantee undisturbed energy supply and reduce the reliance on imported, and thus expensive fossil fuels, it was decided to develop a sustainable energy infrastructure for Saba from 2014, including:
1. Moving the power plant to a higher location away from the sea side. The move gives rise to the opportunity of a refurbishment and complete overhaul of the power plant to prepare for development of a more sustainable energy infrastructure.
2. Converting part of the energy production to be based on renewable energy sources, mainly wind and solar, including construction of a new solar park (delivering 1.142 MWp).
3. Renewal of the distribution grid and to make it “intelligent” as to accommodate smooth fluctuations of power supply by the renewable sources, including a hurricane-proof underground cabling network to improve electricity grid reliability.
As part of the construction of the new solar park, technical assistance was provided to the Saba Electrical Company (SEC), including feasibility assessment of systems design, technical checkups of solar park design and installations, daily progress reporting on construction and installation, assessment of bottlenecks and localization of problems, quality control and preparation of cement pouring tests, safety instructions and supervision of works, and assessment of glaring reports (i.e. reflection of solar panels) to ensure that aircraft pilots can safely use the nearby airstrip.