The inaugural Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference kicked off Thursday morning (11 May) at the Kimpton Seafire, hot on the heels of the country’s first National Energy Policy, which sets a target of 70% renewable energy by 2037.
“We are surrounded by sun, by sea, and wind,” said PLAHI Minister Kurt Tibbetts.
Just weeks away from the end of a decades-long career in public service, Mr. Tibbetts laid the facts bare on the realities of Cayman’s quest to 70% renewable energy.
“Approx 31 million gallons of sulfurous diesel fuel is sourced on an annual basis to generate electricity for commercial and residential use,” said Mr. Tibbetts.
Right now, he says more than 99% of the energy produced in Cayman is derived from fossil fuels, largely diesel and gasoline. He said change is coming, and must come soon.
“Approval has been granted for the construction of a 20 acre, $1.4 million utility scale solar farm,” said Mr. Tibbetts.
He said the 5 megawatt Lake Destiny solar farm in Bodden Town, said to be complete sometime this quarter, will be capable of supplying enough energy for 800 homes.
“As a tropical island surrounded by the warm Caribbean sea, the Cayman Islands offers the perfect conditions for the generation of thermal energy from the ocean,” said Mr. Tibbetts.
He said a system of floating platforms moored on the island’s north coast will one day turn cool seawater from the depths into up to 25 megawatts of thermal electricity.
“Our responsibility as a government is to ensure these resources are effectively harnessed,” he said.
And with 20 years to reach the 70% renewable target, there will be much discussion as how to get there. The CTEC conference continues Friday (12 May) with more international speakers and panel discussions.