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No Headway In Alternative Energy Talks

FORTIS TCI and the Government continue to engage in talks looking at ways in which the utility company can best implement renewable energy generation within the Turks and Caicos Islands.
A senior management team recently met with members of Cabinet to outline the company’s integrated strategic training and development approach.
Speaking at a post Cabinet press conference on Thursday (December 12), Premier Rufus Ewing said the Cabinet welcomed the company’s approach to employment and training of local people and that a commitment was also given to work in partnership on a renewable energy policy.
For some months now the Government has been meeting with the Fortis team discussing the use of alternative energy generation in the islands with a view to reducing the cost of electricity to residents. However, to date there has been no major headway in these discussions.
The Premier has advised that more discussions will be held on this issue, but in the meantime an energy policy is being worked out.
“Some of it will take into consideration the view of Fortis and some of it will take into consideration what we need to do as a Government…
“But there is no major advancement since our last discussion with them, other than us internally working on our policy and shaping it in terms of other person’s experiences elsewhere,” Ewing told the Weekly News.
Questioned if the agreement with Fortis has to be restructured or renegotiated in any way to allow for the implementation of renewable energy, the Premier said no, but that this is one of the pitfalls the Government is trying to avoid.
“The more you get into that kind of negotiations the more difficult it is for you to do what you need to do, so there are ways around it,” he added.
Meanwhile on his return to the TCI from the overseas territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meeting in London last month, Ewing had stated that renewable energy use and reducing the cost of electricity in the territories were among the main issues discussed.
He also noted that of all the territories, the TCI probably has the highest electricity cost.
“We all recognised the need to reduce the cost of energy in TCI and the way to go is to go green with renewable energy and the UK has committed to providing technical assistance in looking at the appropriate legal and policy framework in developing renewable energy,” he said at the time.
He added that the TCI will be looking towards the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the United Kingdom for assistance in this area.
Outlined in the communiqué from the JMC it was noted that many of the territories are rich with natural energy sources that, with the application of new technology and targeted investment, could reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports to meet their energy needs.
“We believe that green energy should be a greater priority. Territory governments recognise the challenges of regulating monopoly energy providers and that fuel imports leave them vulnerable to price fluctuations,” the communiqué read.
In September, Minister of Government Support Services, George Lightbourne along with other Government officials met with Fortis’ chief executive officer and other officers on this same issue.
Following that meeting, the minister told the newspaper that while the company is receptive to the idea of alternative energy use, it cannot achieve a proposed 20 per cent reduction in its generation capacity through alternative options; but that it is inclined to consider 10 to 15 per cent. (DI)



Category/ies:News, Turks & Caicos News.
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