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Gov’t Must Move Swiftly On Renewable Energy

Cayman moves closer to integrating solar power into the national power grid with the approval of a 5 megawatt (MW) solar plant in Bodden Town.

Cayman moves closer to integrating solar power into the national power grid with the approval of a 5 megawatt (MW) solar plant in Bodden Town.

Government should consider fast tracking its thrust towards renewable energy especially since the approval of Cayman’s first solar power farm was long overdue.

So said GreenTech Group founder and CEO James Whittaker responding to news that Caribbean Utilities Company Ltd (CUC) has received the green light for its 5 megawatt (MW) solar plant in Bodden Town.

On Friday CUC and the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) issued a joint statement announcing that the plant, which will be built by Entropy Cayman Solar Ltd, was approved the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the solar project.

According to the release the 5 MW Solar project will provide energy to power approximately 800 homes with clean renewable solar energy and will significantly reduce emissions into the atmosphere through the avoidance of diesel fuel consumption.

“The PPA will also provide renewable energy at a competitive initial price of CI 14.28 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh,)” the release said.

The project is now on schedule to be completed by October 2016.

Mr Whittaker, commenting on the new plant, said it was a “good step” for Cayman.

However he said the entire process was too lengthy.

“I think it is very important that we bring our first solar farm online. I also think, unfortunately, that it process has taken far too long by the time they turn that on it would have been about seven years that we have been pursuing that solar farm,” he said.

In August 2011, according to the CUC/ERA media statement on the project, an invitation was issued by CUC to interested parties to submit an Expression of Interest and Preliminary Proposal for the financing, construction, ownership and operation of renewable energy generation facilities.

CUC, according to the release, evaluated the proposals on both technical and financial merits in order to achieve the overall renewable generating capacity objective without compromising the reliability and stability of its electricity system. International Electric Power LLC (IEP) was selected after conducting the evaluation process but subsequently transferred all rights for this project to an affiliate of Entropy Cayman Solar Limited.

Mr Whittaker, who has long advocated the need to pursue renewable energy and green technology, said Cayman needs to step up its game on integrating the alternative energy sources.

“I think we need to move at a much faster pace and a much larger scale when it comes to adopting renewable energy, but it [the solar plant] is a good first step,” he said.

According to the CUC and ERA statement the planned solar generating facility will be built on a 20-acre site in Bodden Town and comprises 21,690 poly-crystalline photovoltaic (solar) modules each with a DC-rated capacity of 305 watts and will be connected to CUC’s Bodden Town substation.

President and CEO of CUC, Richard Hew, in the release, said the company was very pleased to have reached the stage of the project.

“This has been a prolonged, but necessary process to ensure that we secured the right partner who could meet our goal to bring large-scale renewable energy to Grand Cayman’s electricity consumers. This project will provide clean energy at a competitive and stable price to consumers and represents a large step in the ongoing development of a diversified and environmentally sustainable energy sector,” Mr Hew said in the statement.


Category/ies:Cayman News, News, Renewable Energy, Solar Tech.
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