Since 1 July 2016, the Electricity and Drinking Water Act BES applies. This law regulates the governance of the electricity supply, mainly for the island companies. Furthermore, the law protects both companies and customers. To this end, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has a supervisory and regulatory task.
Certainty of supply
On Bonaire, there is a growing demand for electricity, partly due to the major development of tourism. This requires a reliable electricity supply. Furthermore, the electricity generation costs on the islands are high due to the small installations. The cost of electricity is a considerable part of household expenditure for many residents: a quarter of a normal income is not uncommon.
A reliable and affordable energy supply is of great importance for the economic development of the islands. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has policy responsibility for the energy supply and is therefore a close discussion partner for the executive councils and energy companies: WEB Bonaire, ContourGlobal Bonaire, Statia Utility Company and Saba Electric Company.
Because of the favourable climate, there are good opportunities for sustainable energy (in particular wind and solar). On Bonaire, very good results have already been achieved with wind energy. The Ministry of Economic Affairs is currently heavily involved in a number of new sustainable energy projects on the islands. In February 2017, the Ministry issued a report on sustainability and affordability of energy in the Dutch Caribbean.
On Bonaire, a combined wind-diesel plant is in use with twelve medium-sized wind turbines that can provide the island with up to 50 per cent of its electricity demand on certain days. An energy storage unit of 3 MW and computer control regulate any electricity fluctuations. The installation runs very satisfactorily and is unique in the region in terms of its size (38% renewable energy).
The possibilities for solar energy are also being looked at. Due to the growth in demand for electricity, more production capacity will have to be invested, primarily base load that can always be switched on and off, and then as much sustainable capacity as possible.
There are good opportunities for wind and solar energy on Saba and St. Eustatius. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has invested heavily in renewable energy on both islands. This means that the electricity tariffs remain within the limits. On Saba, the Ministry has supported the relocation of the outdated and unfavourably located power station to another location.
Fuel supply security
In the Dutch Caribbean, oil products are mainly used for generating electricity and for (air) transport. Consumption on Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire is relatively low. The oil supply certainty on the islands therefore only focuses on securing electricity production by using diesel. There are no additional oil stocks on the islands. This makes the area vulnerable to disruptions in the supply, which in turn can lead to economic disruptions. The local administrators and EA limit such risks by pragmatic solutions.
The Mining Decree BES has applied since October 10th, 2010. This means that the regulations have been technically transferred from the Netherlands Antilles to the Netherlands. This means that the method has not changed. However, concessions and permits must be applied for as of 10/10/10 from the Minister of Economic Affairs.