PHILIPSBURG--The still-pending waste-to-energy (WTE) plant would have cost taxpayers “a total of zero investment” under the plan left behind by National Alliance (NA) leader Member of Parliament William Marlin after his tenure as Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI in 2012-2013, said the NA board in a press statement on Wednesday.
The terms of reference were designed so that the WTE supplier would be granted a concession for 20-25 years and utilities company GEBE would buy the energy produced by the WTE plant, said the board as they chided United People’s (UP) party Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger for saying in Parliament recently that projects require investment.
“So you see, MP Heyliger, you are not correct. Things can be done for free, in the beginning at least, resulting in no huge debt for the people of St. Maarten. MP Heyliger also has a unique ability to confuse the numbers, so let us try to clarify things here for the honourable MP,” said the NA board.
They explained that the WTE plant would produce eight megawatts (MW) or 8,000 kilowatts (kW). Over 24 hours this would be 24 times 8,000 equalling 192,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day; over a year 365 days times 192,000 equals 70,080,000kWh per year. Currently, GEBE’s electricity rate is approximately NAf. 0.48 per kWh.
“Under a National Alliance Government, the companies estimated a kWh price of between 0.31 and 0.45 per kWh. Taking the above into consideration the WTE would collect a yearly amount of 70,080,000 times 0.45 (let’s take the bigger number) = 31,356,000 guilders,” said the board.
For the 20- to 25-year term of the concession the WTE company would collect a total of 20 times NAf. 31,356,000, equalling NAf. 627,120,000, or 25 times NAf. 31,356,000, equalling NAf. 783,900,000.
“According to MP Heyliger, this is not a valid deal and St. Maarten or GEBE needs to invest in this project to make it feasible. The strange thing is even with an investment by the people of St. Maarten or GEBE he still envisions a cost of 0.56 per kWh,” said the board.
To use the numbers of MP Heyliger, “who it appears is confused and still thinks he sits in the chair of the Minister, we get the following – an investment of a minimum of NAf. 200 million (cost of most 8MW plants), 70,080,000 (kWh per year) times 0.56 equals NAf. 39,244,800.”
For the 20- to 25-year term of the concession the WTE company would collect a grand total of 20 times NAf. 39,244,800 equalling NAf. 784,896,000, or 25 times NAf. 39,244,800 equals NAf. 981,120,000 (close to a billion guilders), NA’s board said.
“We would assume that GEBE would benefit somewhat from this billion guilders, being a shareholder in the WTE. MP Heyliger needs to explain why GEBE would invest if it is not necessary.
“So with MP Heyliger’s terms of reference, the people of St. Maarten would be burdened with a loan of minimum 200 million guilders. We even heard of a figure of 700 million guilders which we don’t quite understand. In addition, we would also be paying more for electricity than we are currently paying,” said the board.
“With the terms of reference of MP William Marlin the people of St. Maarten would not be burdened with any loan and the cost of electricity would be lower, saving the people of St. Maarten millions of guilders over the years,” the board said.
They added, “Since MP Heyliger seems to know more about the entire issue than the Minister and has taken it upon himself to answer questions for the Minister he should also answer the question as to why the done deal during the tenure of former Minister William Marlin was not executed by former Minister Maurice Lake.
“Even more questionable is why the deal done by former Minister Lake is not being considered. Why is MP Heyliger dead set on burdening the people of St. Maarten with yet another multi-million-guilder loan?”