Cayman Islands to embark on a “radical” renewable energy transformation

Solar Panel Array. Image: David Goehring.

The Cayman Islands Journal reports on plans to transform Cayman’s energy sector, moving from 5% renewable energy to 70% in just twenty years:

Cayman’s energy market will need to see a radical transformation over the next two decades to meet the ambitious goals outlined in the first National Energy Policy passed last year.

Especially the aim to derive 70 percent of all electricity from renewable sources only 20 years from now demands a complete reconsideration of how Cayman generates its power.

Currently, less than 5 percent of energy is renewable, and the generation mix is simple.

Caribbean Utilities Company, Cayman’s exclusive energy provider, is running a diesel power plant that has a generation capacity of 161 megawatts. In addition, Entropy Cayman Solar Ltd. opened a 5MW solar facility near Bodden Town in June 2017 and rooftop solar panels generate approximately 3 to 4MW of energy.

Speakers at the Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference at the Kimpton Seafire in September offered the first indication of how Cayman could quickly reduce its overwhelming dependency on burning fuel for energy.

Infrastructure Minister Joey Hew said at the event that the 70 percent renewables target was “realistic and achievable” and government was doing its part by starting to convert its fleet of cars to electric vehicles.
“Government is attempting to lead by example and has committed to converting 10 percent of its fleet to electric vehicles over the next five years. Several electric cars are already in service and the infrastructure to support them – such as charging stations – are planned for installation at various locations,” Minister Hew said.

Additional government initiatives to promote cleaner energy sources include plans to install renewables on several government buildings and replace street lights with more efficient LED lighting.

Government would also assist the private sector with the adoption of solar energy. “Duty-free concessions are already available to homeowners and we are now looking at reducing the duties on building materials and appliances to incentivize consumers to choose more energy-efficient goods,” Minister Hew said.

The viability and affordability of renewable energy had been questioned for years but this is rapidly changing, he said.

The crucial question, however, is how Cayman can execute a more fundamental shift away from fossil fuels.

For more, read the full Journal article: Electric Future: CUC plans radical shake-up of energy sources

[Image: David Goehring]


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