Government Looks at Renewable Energy

Energy Minister Conrad Enill yesterday launched the Government’s Renewable Energy Initiative, a move aimed at increasing the amount of energy generated from renewable energy sources. Enill said this could reduce the amount of fossil fuels used locally and the fuel saved could be exported to earn foreign exchange for the country. Handing out instruments of appointment to members of the Renewable Energy Committee which will develop the Government’s position on renewable energy, Enill said that the committee will “guide our path forward to continuously increase the energy mix between renewable energy developments and fossil fuel usage.”

       “This implies that as more and more electricity and other fuels are extracted from various sources of renewable energy, the utilization of energy from oil and gas will decrease.” However, he said, “This feat will not be accomplished overnight; rather it will take many years to achieve. these goals.” He said the first thing the committee will do is to formulate a Renewable Energy Policy Green Paper and promote renewable energy development’s in T&T. The committee will assess the current state of research in T &T into photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, wind and wave energy and biofuels. Enill said their assessment will help to identify feasible renewable energy technologies in the transportation, industry, manufacturing, commercial and residential sectors. He said it will also help to develop a priority list of renewable energy technologies which can feasibly be developed in the short, medium and long term.

      He added that targets and time frames will also have to be set to implement the selected projects. He said Government will also have to decide what level of incentives will be necessary to encourage usage of renewable energy technologies in the various sectors. He said incentives will be required since renewable energy may not yet be cost competitive with energy developed from traditional fossil fuels. Enill said that when it is prepared and reviewed by the Renewable Energy Committee, the Renewable Energy Policy Green Paper will be made public for comments.

      The committee will also be responsible for developing a public education campaign to sensitise the country about the move into renewable energy. “Our national sustainable development objectives defiled the optimal utilization of our valuable petroleum resources,” Enill said.” Issues with respect to energy efficiency and conservation must therefore be underscored in the thrust to move forward. In this regard renewable energy provides us with an opportunity to complement our valuable petroleum resources through creating a more diversified energy portfolio.” He added that the attempt to encourage adoption and use of renewable energy is especially important in the context of the debate about climate change, global warming and the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. He said the current economic downturn should not deter the country from pursuing the use of renewable energy technologies, but the situation should provide the “ideal opportunity to rethink our development strategies.”

 Michelle Felix