Basseterre, St. Kitts (June 16th, 2020)—The St Kitts Electricity Company Limited (SKELEC) installed thirty turtle-friendly LED streetlights on the island main road in Keys on Monday June 15, 2020.
The turtle sensitive streetlights are amber in colour and are intended to discourage turtles, that typically after nesting on Keys Beach, follow the bright white light and wander onto the island main road, instead of back to the sea.
According to the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (SKSTMN), the NGO which monitors the nesting of sea turtles on Keys Beach, the amber lights are beneficial to the turtles and can increase the low number of hatchlings which make it to the reproductive stage.
The installation of the environmentally sensitive turtle-friendly amber lights is a part of an island-wide streetlight change out project which began in April 2020. The street lighting project began with a changeover of lamps on the FT Williams Highway starting at the Camps Roundabout, continuing east on the island main road towards Conaree, then Keys onwards. The crew is currently changing over streetlights in the Dieppe Bay community.
This first phase of the installation includes a changeover of 5,356 High Pressure Sodium, Mercury Vapour and Metal Halide lamps to LED lamps. SKELEC anticipates that the changeout project will be completed by the end of the year.
Financing for the project is provided through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis totalling approximately EC$15,638,000 (US$5,792,000) to facilitate the retrofit of about 10,760 lamps on both St. Kitts and Nevis.