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Grenada utility plans to erect wind turbines

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This southern Caribbean island’s power company plans to erect wind turbines to reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels, a top utility official said Monday.

Grenada Electricity Services Limited, the sole power provider for the island and its tiny outlying districts of Carriacou and Petit Martinique, has leased 300 acres (121 hectares) of land in St. Patrick’s parish to establish a wind farm, said company manager Vernon Lawrence.

The utility, commonly known as Grenlec, is awaiting government permission.

The hurricane-prone Caribbean country of 90,000 inhabitants currently draws the large majority of its power from oil-powered facilities.

Grenlec and government officials are in the early stages of discussing financing and the amount of wind turbines to be used.

The project’s first phase would make it a 6 megawatt wind farm, Lawrence said. Grenlec facilities currently have the capacity to provide 49 megawatts of electricity.

The Grenadian government pledged last year to have all police precincts, public schools and health clinics operate by solar power by 2010.

The push for renewable energy sources comes as Grenada receives preferential terms to buy fuel under the Petrocaribe accord, a 2005 agreement with Venezuela’s state oil company which promises the island 340,000 barrels of gasoline, fuel oil and diesel a year.

It received its first shipment of 20,000 barrels of subsidized Venezuelan fuel last October

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