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OPIC to Provide $16 Million Loan for Wind Power Plant in the Caribbean

Thursday, October 13, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U. S. Government’s development finance institution, has approved a $16 million loan for the construction of a wind power plant on St. Kitts, which will provide a clean and reliable source of power to the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. The project is one of several recent OPIC deals designed to catalyze investment in the renewable energy sector, and represents OPIC’s first investment in wind power.

St. Kitts and Nevis has no indigenous sources of fossil fuels and currently must import all of its petroleum products. It spends an estimated 15 percent of its GDP on imported fuel and uses diesel generators to produce electricity. As an island nation, the only way it can reduce energy costs and create a reliable electricity supply to its population is to introduce renewable energy. The St. Kitts wind plant will be the first independent power producer on the island and will reduce pollution associated with diesel power generation.

The new wind plant will have a capacity of 5.4 megawatts, representing as much as 30 percent of the country’s energy demand.

“I am pleased to announce OPIC’s first deal in the wind power industry, which is another milestone in OPIC’s effort to support the growth of renewable energy in developing nations around the world,” said OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield.  “This single power plant will significantly reduce emissions and the need for imported fuel in St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as lower the cost of energy for her citizens.”

The United Nations recognizes St. Kitts and Nevis as a Small Island Developing State, one of 39 low-lying coastal countries facing significant sustainable development challenges. Introducing wind power on the islands will not only reduce its use of diesel fuel, and overall emissions, but will provide a more affordable and reliable supply of electricity to its population. Almost one quarter of the nation’s population lives below the national poverty line, on an annual income of less than $2,714.

The project sponsor, North Star St. Kitts Ltd. is majority-owned by the U.S. shareholder Fairways Equities LLC of Texas. Other shareholders include MAS St. Kitts Wind LLC, a St. Kitts and Nevis business and North Star Bellevue LLC, a St. Lucia company. Both are also majority-owned by U.S. citizens.