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Anguilla Renewable Energy Integration Stakeholder Workshop

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OPENING REMARKS by Hon. Evan Gumbs, Minister with responsibility for Energy

My task here this morning is two fold, firstly, to provide brief remarks on the Anguilla Renewable Energy Integration Stakeholder Workshop; and secondly, to declare the workshop officially open.

As Minister with responsibility for electricity it is indeed a great pleasure for me to be here addressing you on this very important subject of Renewable Energy.

The overall goal of this project, on its completion, is to enable the integration of renewable energy into Anguilla’s energy profile by recommending changes in Anguilla’s legal and regulatory framework.

In developing towards a more sustainable energy profile, Anguilla faces many challenges. Its options for developing renewable energy are limited, and not suited to providing base load power. Therefore, Anguilla has a naturally high dependency on imported fossil fuels. Anguilla’s small size and remoteness make it difficult to procure power from neighboring countries; enjoy economies of scale; and develop low-cost generation.

Despite these challenges, Government is committed to the broad scale introduction of renewable energy. In fact, from a policy perspective, Government has made the enabling of renewable energy integration one of its top priority policy goals for the primary objectives of reducing electricity costs and reducing Anguilla’s carbon footprint. Two other important policy objectives of Government in this project are increasing energy security and environmental sustainability.

Given the extremely high cost of electricity, reducing the cost of electricity to consumers is the priority policy objective of Government. As we all know electricity prices in Anguilla are among the highest in the Caribbean and cause undue stress and hardship to both businesses and households alike. Thus reducing electricity costs by integrating viable and least cost renewable energy would be a win-win for all stakeholders.

Any savings achieved from integrating renewable energy into the national grid must be passed on to the consumer in the form of lower tariffs. This should improve the welfare of households and businesses since they would now pay lower electric bills; and would also allow them to remain connected to the grid; and reduce the need to invest in renewable energy systems.

Let me make it abundantly clear that while pursuing these goals, Government will ensure that ANGLEC continues to operate as a commercially viable utility that provides reliable and more cost effective electricity to all.

In tackling these challenges, Government has recently taken steps to transition towards a more sustainable energy framework by developing National Energy and Climate Change Policies. However, the country’s legal and regulatory framework for the power sector must also be amended so that it effectively enables renewable energy integration in accordance with Anguilla’s top policy objectives.

Increasing energy security seeks to build reliability and resilience into the energy supply. Use of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind can reduce the need for imported diesel oil products which are subject to risk in physical security of supply and price volatility. Thus a better diversified portfolio benefits the country by increasing the likelihood of the availability of electricity when needed, and decreasing the share of electricity supply that is subject to external shocks which we have no control over. However, as a policy decision, Government will not pursue total energy ‘independence’ at any cost – but only if energy security benefits exceed the economic costs.

In closing, let me say I look forward to us having a very successful workshop and extend a warm welcome, for a second time, to our visitors Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and CASTALIA Strategic Advisors, the sponsor and consultant, respectively, who have come to assist us in this very important and vital undertaking. I must also acknowledge the vital role of the Anguilla Renewable Energy Office (AREO) who assisted in the coordination and monitoring functions of the project, and last but by no means least, Her Majesty’s Government (HMG), who, through DFID, provided all the project funding.

And now, turning to my second task, I now declare this workshop officially open.

Ladies and gentleman, I thank you.

Source: http://www.anguillanews.com/enews/index.php/permalink/4252.html



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