Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities Strategic Plan 2012-2017 Launch
The Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities has embarked on articulating its strategic plan to enhance its planning for a Sustainable Energy Sector for Belize. The purpose of this Sustainable Energy Strategy 2012-2033 is to establish a framework that will result in transitioning the energy sector and economy toward low carbon development. The document recommends a set of programmes and action plans to achieve a low carbon economy by 2033 through improved energy efficiency and conservation, and developing Belize’s domestic energy resources to facilitate private sector participation and investment in the new low carbon energy sector; to empower rural communities to participate in income-generating activities, particularly women and young people; and to encourage and advise the publicand private sectors and the general public to become more aware of the critical energy issues and to take appropriate actions and response measures.
The newly established Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) is expected to execute a mandate that is aimed at strategically integrating energy and science and technology into national development planning and decision-making to catalyse sustainable development. The Ministry’s focus is on the role that energy and science and technology (S&T) can play in accelerating sustainable development, thereby reducing poverty and increasing employment. Important in its mandate also are its regulatory and oversight roles that are intended to ensure that public utilities continue to deliver the requisite services to Belizeans in a safe, efficient and cost-effective way that are consistent with the principles of sustainable development.
The principles of sustainable development are embodied in Belize’s national development plan, Horizon 2030, which embodies the vision for Belize in the year 2030 and the core values that are to guide citizen behaviour and inform the strategies to achieve a common vision for the future. One of the strategic priorities of Horizon 2030 is the promotion of green energy and energy efficiency and conservation, including creation of an institutional framework for producing a viable energy policy. In February of 2012, the Government of Belize endorsed the National Energy Policy and Planning Framework. The Horizon 2030 framework also seeks to focus on the community by anchoring development planning in the communities to promote relevance, ownership by beneficiaries and long-term sustainability of results. It also promotes collaboration within and across sectors to increase programme efficiency and effectiveness and builds in an implementation process including a monitoring and evaluation framework.
Belize is abundant in energy resources particularly biomass (e.g., waste from forestry, sugarcane, citrus, and rice industries), hydro-electricity, solar, and some locations with good wind potential still to be assessed. Although these resources could play a central role in contributing to sustainable development, the nation remains highly dependent on imported energy sources. Furthermore, access to energy in rural areas is inadequate and public awareness regarding renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation is low. In recent times, oil production in Belize has become a significant contributor to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and export earnings. This natural resource endowment yields 2,800 barrels of crude oil per day2; however, this source is not renewable, as proven reserves are estimated at 6.7 million barrels3. Therefore, the country will have to create a sustainable energy policy that maximizes the development of its renewable energy resources, using to the maximum extent possible the resources generated by this fossil fuel resource to develop a sustainable energy sector.
As a founding member of the Small Island Developing States Sustainable Energy Initiative – SIDS DOCK, in December 2009, Belize committed to the collective SIDS DOCK goal of increasing energy efficiency by 25 per cent (2005 baseline) and to generate a minimum of 50 per cent of electric power from renewable sources and a 20-30 per cent decrease in conventional transportation fuel use by 2033. SIDS DOCK is a mechanism developed by its Member States4 to provide assistance to its members with transformation to a low carbon economy by 2033, in order to generate financial resources to support adaptation to climate change. The development of a sustainable energy policy in Belize will reflect the overall SIDS DOCK goal of achieving a low carbon economy in Belize by 2033. Of significance, in February 2012, Belize was selected by the 30-Member States of SIDS DOCK to be the Host Country for the SIDS DOCK institution, providing critical start-up and long-term support, while positioning the country to derive significant early benefits from the organization’s presence.
Belize is also committed to the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SEFA), signed on 8 May 2012 at the Alliance of Small Island States(AOSIS) Ministerial Conference on “Achieving Sustainable Energy for All (SEFA) in SIDS – Challenges, Opportunities, Commitments,” in Bridgetown, Barbados 7-8 May 2012. The Declaration emphasizes that achieving sustainable energy for all in SIDS includes providing all households with access to modern and affordable renewable energy services, while eradicating poverty, safeguarding the environment and providing new opportunities for sustainable development and economic growth. The SEFA initiative has identified three interlinked objectives which underpin the goal of achieving sustainable energy for all by 2030:
- Ensuring universal access to modern energy services;
- Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency;
- Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
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