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Olivierre: Energy efficiency a priority

Published: 
Monday, March 14, 2016
Debra Thomas, left, winner of the local leg of the 2015 Caricom Energy Week Art and Photo Competition collects her certificate from Energy Minister Nicole Olivierre. PHOTO: SEAN NERO

Laws governing T&TEC and the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) will be amended to facilitate Government’s renewable energy agenda, says Energy Minister Nicole Olivierre.

“Despite lower global energy prices, energy efficiency continues to be prioritised. Our government is committed to a development strategy which fosters the promotion of conservation and efficiency in the manner in which they are managed. This will ensure that the life of our resources will be extended to meet the needs of future generations,” she said.

“Government has set a target that by the year 2030, ten per cent of our electricity generation will come from renewable sources. 

“In demonstration of our commitment to sustainable development objectives, T&T became a full member of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in February 2014. With the assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank we successfully completed a report for the development of a Sustainable Energy Programme. 

“Where it is feasible, we intend to maximise the use of renewable energy (such as solar and wind) through incentives, concessions and enabling legislation and make the reduction of T&T’s carbon footprint a priority by setting appropriate renewable production targets.”

Speaking during a prize-giving ceremony for winners of the local leg of the 2015 Caricom Energy Week Art and Photo Competition at the ministry’s offices at the Waterfront Complex in Port-of-Spain, Olivierre said there are plans to continue collaborating with stakeholders on projects for capacity building and awareness creation. 

These include the Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) Schools Education Project which targets the 14-16 age groups and has trained 85 teachers. In addition, off-grid solar photovoltaic (PC) systems and solar distillation units have been installed in 21 schools. 

They are believed to promote a more-effective learning environment for students, while affording them the opportunity to interact with technology related applications. 

The minister said the Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) in the Community Project is aimed at educating the population about energy sustainability, through installation of solar induction lighting around 13 community centres. 

A solar house has been established on the campus of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and is used for teaching and public display purposes.

“Government will expand on current initiatives to promote or scale up local renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives and, where necessary, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries will be equipped with the requisite resources to manage and regulate the developments taking place in this important area,” Olivierre said.

“Over the short term, the government will subsidise and promote the use of renewable energy sources in the residential and commercial sectors for heating and lighting. We are currently exploring the feasibility of establishing a local solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing facility,” she said.

The minister said the feasibility of a waste to energy (WTE) plant is being explored. 

“This has gained the interest of the Organisation of American States (OAS) who has indicated an interest to provide technical assistance in this initiative. 

“The government has also been receiving technical assistance from the OAS under the Sustainable Energy Capacity Building Initiative (SECBI) by the Department of Sustainable Development. 

Currently, the OAS is assisting with the design of a toolkit for the development or renewable energy power purchase agreements and contracts,” she said.

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