Since the 1st of 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 and Climate (EZK) 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. 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 9 MW and computer control regulate any electricity fluctuations.
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. Meanwhile, there is sufficient controllable capacity (“baseload”) on Bonaire for fossil fuel that can be turned on and off at any time. Replacing fossil fuel production with as much sustainable capacity as possible is the new challenge.
There are good opportunities for wind and solar energy on Saba and St. Eustatius. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK) has invested heavily in renewable energy on both islands. Consequently, 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 On Saba, the ministry has supported the relocation of the outdated and unfavourably located power station to another location.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 primarily 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 EZK limit such risks through pragmatic solutions for the short term, and in addition the policy entity, Bonaire Fuel Terminals, has been incorporated to guarantee security of supply for the longer term.
The Mining Decree BES has applied since October 10, 2010. This means that the regulations have technically been 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.