Belize Needs To Catch Up Technologically For Cheaper Energy Rates


How we consume energy is the focus of a workshop that the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology is conducting along with support from the Inter-American Development Bank.  The IDB is providing technical cooperation to the Belizean government in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energy through a consultation process, utilizing Castalia Consultants.  According to Energy Director in the Ministry, Ambrose Tillett, there are two primary aspects being looked at: the types of equipment we purchase and our practices in consuming energy. 


Ambrose Tillett, Energy Director, Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology


“When we benchmark Belize against other countries we are quite inefficient and so we know that there are some issues within Belize that prevents us from using energy in an efficient way.  If u look at a per capita basis, how much energy resources we use per person we use in Belize, it’s one of the highest in the region and if you compare us to countries which are really focused or have a culture of high efficiency like Japan, we use like three times more energy per person than like somebody in Japan.  Japanese are one of the most energy conscious people in the world.  I don’t know if some of it is behavioral but I think a lot of it has to do with the equipment too; the Japanese are also from a technology society; they always use the best technology that’s available; a lot of it is technological.  For example, if you look at basic things like lighting, we tend to buy the cheapest light out there but it’s not the best light; we tend to buy the cheapest refrigerator out there but it’s not the best refrigerators; we tend to buy the cheapest air conditioners but it’s not the best air conditioners.  We believe but we don’t want to prejudge the findings of the consultants; once they do their base line the next thing is they’re going to do the analysis; why is it that we’re not adapting the best technologies and we believe intuitively, it has to do with (1) money; to get an efficient refrigerator will cost you twice as much and for a lot of people finding that extra few hundred dollars or even an extra few thousand dollars is really quite difficult so, they just settle for the inefficient and the cheap one but that makes their electricity bill more expensive every single month so it’s not really cheaper on the long run.  One of the questions that will have to be answered in this, is how do you make these more expensive but more efficient technologies available but do it in a manner that people don’t end up being turned off because of the high initial cost .  So, there needs to be these financiering mechanisms, the coordination mechanisms and those kinds of things; this is why you need to have a micro picture of how you deal with this issue.”


Lars Olson, a Consultant with Castalia Advisors, told Love News that even in this region, Belizeans pay high electricity bills and the choices they make can have an impact on how much they pay.


Lars Olson, Consultant, Castalia Advisors


“Another big part of this assignment is to see what people are actually using and so we have an engineering firm that is going to do audits and they will go into places of work and people’s homes to see what they are using and how much electricity it consumes and so it is big opportunity.  It is usually cheaper to save a unit of electricity than to generate it and so we will be finding out how big that opportunity is and then make recommendations on how to get people to use that equipment.  If you look next door on Guatemala, electricity is cheaper and many Central American countries have cheaper electricity.  I think Nicaragua is more expensive but the others in general have cheaper electricity; we are not far from those places so in theory it should be possible to have cheaper electricity here and I think that there are definitely opportunities for Belize to realize to get that cheap electricity and then once the electricity is cheaper, to also consume less of it and even if it is cheaper, you don’t want to spend money you don’t have to.”


Olson says that people who are already using solar and or wind energy would not factor greatly into the survey since they don’t fall in the category of consumers who pay electricity rates. 


Source: Love FM