The View
from Here:

    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline and is the editor-in- chief of Harbour Magazine for Saint Barth and Saint Martin. When she's not organizing the St. Barth Film Festival, or writing for various magazines including Live Design, MACO, and All At Sea, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.

    March'08
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What Will They Think Of Next?

Let’s face it. Saint Barth is a very small island but it also has some very big problems. One of them is power. Making electricity. And making enough to meet an increasing large demand. You’d think the island was the size of China with the demands on such things as water—it’s a very dry island but you can’t imagine the number of gardens that guzzle gallons of water every day—and electricity. It seems simple enough. You want more power, you call the electric company and they provide it. Everyone is perfectly happy to pay for it. But think about it a minute. Where does this power come from? Every single little kilowatt has to be made on the island. At the local electric plant, which burns untold numbers of gallons of fossil fuel to make it. So that people can have electric gates to protect their property, electric shutters on their windows, electric hurricane shutters, electric pool covers, etc. But wait a minute, aren’t there solutions to stop using so much electricity and cut down on power consumption? At the same time, it would be good to stop being so dependant on fossil fuel as well. So ironically electric cars are being touted as one of the solutions to stop using gasoline. With oil over $110 a barrel the Arabs really do have us over the proverbial barrel in more ways than one. So even in Saint Barth, a series of electric cars from California are being promoted as “going green.” They run up to 50 miles on a single charge and the electricity to “fill” the car costs about one euro. Certainly cheaper than 40 euros or more to fill your tank at the local Shell station. But wait a minute, electric cars? Where does the electricity come from? From burning more fossil fuel to make it. We’re darned if we do and darned if we don’t! But it is appealing in that you never need to go to the gas station again—as long as the island can continue to generate enough power for everybody’s needs, electric cars included. Or maybe there is another solution, as solar power is getting another day in the sun and wind power is being explored as a trendy solution to generating electricity in an ecologically sound fashion. I haven’t tried any of these ideas yet but I have a nice hillside behind my house in Petite Saline where a little windmill might do the trick. At least to heat our hot water, and maybe provide enough power for an electric car—if they ever make a 4-wheel drive version I can get up my driveway in case of heavy rains. In the meantime, I guess the best thing about the electric car would be never running out of gas. You could just stop at a friend’s house, plug your buggy into any convenient outlet and enjoy a glass of red wine while discussing the state of the world. Once the car is charged you just drive off into the sunset.

        More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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