T&T, US sign MOU on renewable energy

The Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs has started work on a Regional Renewable Energy Centre, following the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between T&T and the United States. An assessment survey for the centre’s location and outfitting, which has been budgeted, is scheduled to begin shortly.


The MOU, which was signed by deputy secretary of the US Department of Energy, Daniel Poneman, and Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine, was announced by the Office of the Prime Minister during the recent visit by US Vice President, Joseph Biden. The signing was the culmination of discussions mandated by the Energy minister among a high-powered group of energy technocrats and industry stakeholders.


The MOU falls within the framework of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) and seeks to foster green initiatives within T&T and the Caricom region. The US Department of Energy will provide technical support, particularly through the US National Renewable Energy Laboratories, and advise on the establishment of the centre. Additionally, the MOU will facilitate co-operation on scientific, technical and policy aspects of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies through the exchange of ideas and information.


The signing follows on the heels of several landmark initiatives in the spheres of renewable energy and energy efficiency that are being driven by the Energy Ministry. The largest deployment of renewable energy technologies in the country and the largest Government-funded renewable energy project in the Caribbean were achieved with the recent installation of solar-powered security lights at nine community centres in T&T. 


A pilot solar thermal project has started at 25 schools involving the installation of solar photovoltaic systems and distillation units combined with a programme of teacher training in collaboration with the University of the West Indies and the University of T&T. In a historic move towards energy diversification, a Wind Resource Assessment Programme (Wrap) is being conducted along the east coast in anticipation of the establishment of a wind turbine farm to generate energy. 


Minister Ramnarine explained that the Wrap is a significant development because by using less natural gas to generate electricity, the gas can be liquefied and sold as profitable cargoes of LNG. The Energy Ministry has also been unrolling its National Energy Communication Campaign over the past year to sensitise the population on traditional sources of energy, energy efficiency and conservation and renewable energy technologies.


Source:  Trinidad Guardian