The country’s first ever National Energy Policy has been approved by cabinet.
Planning minister Kurt Tibbetts said the policy, which calls for 70% renewable energy by 2037, sets a bold target for the country’s future. While presenting the policy in the Legislative Assembly this morning, Minister Tibbetts urged his fellow MLAs to give it their unanimous support.
“It is my hope that this house will embrace this national energy policy which calls for a sustainable approach to energy usage and development,” said Minister Tibbetts. “Certainly, I believe this legislature needs to send a message to the entire country that this is important.”
Meanwhile, Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) told Cayman 27 the goal of 70% in 20 years time is achievable.
CUC said it’s been pursuing renewable technology for decades. It’s currently working on an integrated resource plan that will help draw a roadmap to 70% without sacrificing reliability or causing drastic cost increases to the end consumer.
Under cloudy skies, a 20-acre solar farm is taking shape in Bodden Town. The five megawatt project, when complete and connected to the grid, will supply clean energy to a thousand homes.
“It really is going to be one of those things where you bite off chunks that you can manage at a time,” explained CUC Vice President of customer service and technology Sacha Tibbetts.
At five megawatts, the Lake Destiny solar farm is one small bite of a much bigger apple. It will take around 250 megawatts of renewables to reach the goal of 70%.
“That’s a lot, just on the cost basis it’s about half a billion dollars in generation assets and it’s a lot of land-use, so that’s not going to happen in two years, but it will happen in 20,” said Mr. Tibbetts. “We’ve been very measured in our progress with respect to some of the newer renewable energy integration in great quantities. It’s fine if you have 1, 2, 3, 4% of your resources fail because of a technology issue. It’s not fine when it’s 40%.”
Mr. Tibbetts told Cayman 27 CUC’s integrated resource plan, in the works since last August and due for completion in just a couple more months, will help chart the course to the finish line.
“It can be done by heavily leaning on renewable energy systems, it can also be done by changing the type of fuel we burn in our power plant,” explained Mr. Tibbetts. “More than likely it’ll be a combination of the two.”
Even as more renewable technologies come online, the diesel generators will be here to stay for the foreseeable future.
“I don’t think [the generators] are really going to be going anywhere in the next couple of decades, even if it is being reduced in usage,” he said.
CUC told Cayman 27 in addition to reaching 70% by 20-37, the company has set a goal of reducing fuel usage 25% by 2025 and is also committed to the Paris Accord milestone of a 60%reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030.