Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said that T&T must re-examine how it derives the greatest value from its natural gas.
In fact, he said it is the duty of the Government to ensure that this country is maximising the use of the country’s rich natural resources to the benefit of its citizens.
Dr Rowley made these comments at the Energy Efficiency and Renewables Conference hosted virtually by the Energy Chamber yesterday.
He noted that the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI) recently announced the winning bid in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for utility scale renewable energy projects.
“A consortium formed by Lightsource Renewable Global Development Limited (Lightsource BP), Shell Trinidad and Tobago Limited and BP Alternative Energy Trinidad and Tobago Limited submitted successful proposals for two projects. These projects will generate 92.2 MW of electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) sources at Couva; and 20 MW of electricity from solar PV sources at Trincity, at a cost that is on par with the current electricity prices in T&T,” he said.
He noted that another utility scale renewable energy project in the works at the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries is a waste-to-energy facility, to produce up to 10MW of electricity at the Beetham Landfill.
“Bids for this project are in the process of being evaluated. In terms of distributed and smaller scale renewable energy projects, the MEEI is engaging with stakeholders to review the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Policy, which would allow for grid-interconnection for renewable electricity generators in T&T,” he said.
Rowley noted that a key element that is necessary for the adoption of renewable energy and efficient energy practices is a change in consumer behaviour.
“As I have mentioned before, in T&T we have gotten accustomed to using our electricity quite liberally,” he said.
He observed that T&T has been sitting in a privileged position for many years, since becoming one of the earliest global adopters of power generation from natural gas, almost 70 years ago.
“Perhaps we have sat comfortably for too long. While T&T’s access to reliable and affordable electricity has been insulated from energy price volatility and external threats to energy security, we are now faced with the challenge of climate change at our doors. Now more than ever, renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives are needed as we come face to face with a rapidly changing energy and economic landscape, combined with the threat of climate change,” he said.
He said renewable energy technologies are expected to bring electricity prices on par with the current average subsidised cost of electricity generated from natural gas in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Perhaps we can begin to look at our relationship with natural gas in the power generation sector to see how this usage can be supplemented by alternative forms of energy. The significant improvements in renewable energy and energy storage technologies over the years mean that we can now begin to consider gradual diversification of our local energy mix, knowing that we are not compromising the reliability and affordability of electricity supply to our citizens and industries, whilst also reducing our carbon footprint as a country,” he said.
He noted that one area that has shown great potential for T&T is the hydrogen economy.