Trinidad and Tobago





Trinidada and Tobago

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying northeast of the South American state of Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. It also shares maritime boundaries with Barbados to the northeast and Guyana to the southeast. The country covers an area of 5,128 square kilometers (1,979 sq mi) and consists of two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and numerous smaller landforms. Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the main islands; Tobago is much smaller, comprising about 6% of the total area and 4% of the population. The nation lies outside the hurricane belt.


Officially Trinidadians or Tobagonians, the people from Trinidad and Tobago are often informally referred to as Trinbagonians or Trinis (for Trinidadians).


Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago’s economy is primarily industrial-based, with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals. Although Tobago is often referred to as “the jewel of the Caribbean” and contains a few resort areas, Trinidad and Tobago as a whole does not rely heavily on tourism as a source of revenue.


Trinidad and Tobago is famous for its pre-Lenten festival known as Carnival and as the birthplace of steelpan, calypso, soca, and limbo.



Renewable Energy Focus

Trinidad and Tobago’s Vision 2020 recognizes that issues in relation to energy security, efficiency, conservation and the environment are crucial to our economic sustainability.  In harmony with these goals, a deliberate decision was taken by the Government to promote the development and utilization of renewable energy resources (ie solar, wind, biomass etc) and increase research and development in renewable energy technologies. Pursuing RE technologies is also consistent with the Kyoto Protocol which this country signed and ratified in January 1999.  Although as a developing country, we are not mandated to meet any emission reduction targets under this protocol, it is generally accepted that T&T must play a role with its global partners in mitigating with the climate change threat.

Among the potential benefits to Trinidad and Tobago of adopting renewable energy are:

* it presents opportunities for strategic economic benefits in a changing world environment;
* creates new avenues for employment, revenue and foreign exchange generation;
* creates a cleaner environment and a stable climate which can mitigate the impact of global warming;
* it enables diversification away from dependence on traditional energy resources;
* provides sustainable alternative sources of energy that will be available even after depletion of the oil and gas resources; and
* allows this country to explore opportunities for carbon trading under the Clean Development Mechanism
* offers prospects for increasing trade and industry regionally and internationally and could be a means to strengthen the regional integration movement.

The Government supports the exploitation and development of these RE resources, where practicable, from a technical and economic standpoint.  Among the practicable options being considered are wind turbines, waste to energy projects, solar water heating and PV systems.  Biomass schemes are also being given consideration but there is a limitation to this technology based on the competing interests for scarce agricultural land and irrigation water.  Geothermal energy has been ruled out as an option.

Renewable Energy Committee (REC)

The MEEA established a Renewable Energy Committee (REC) on February 13, 2009 to formulate a Renewable Energy Policy Green Paper and promote renewable energy development and usage in Trinidad and Tobago.   The Green Paper would be used as a public education tool and would provide a framework for rational decision making by the Government in exploiting and harnessing the country’s renewable energy resources.  The MEEA/REC has contracted the services of a technical support team to assist in research and drafting and the exercise would be completed in phases: a first draft is expected to be completed followed by a period of national consultations; based on feedback from these consultations the final Green Paper would be finalized.

It is proposed that the key elements of the Green Paper will include a rationale for RE development and usage in Trinidad and Tobago and the importance of the electricity subsector as a target for RE usage. Strategies are also being proposed for moving forward in the areas of legislation and regulation, incentives, education, training, financing and research and development and this is being undertaken within the context of global best practices.

The Policy framework would also address the barriers that would need to be overcome in order to implement RE plans and programmes.  Accordingly, a key success factor would be Government support and major collaboration among all stakeholders in the industry, both local and foreign.  Moreover, it is important to adopt an integrated approach to RE development between this country and its regional neighbours.

Other Initiatives

The Ministry has been involved with other stakeholders including BPTT, Tourism Development Company and the Tobago House of Assembly, in the development and implementation of a solar water-heating demonstration project.  The project has been managed by the United Nations Development Programme which chaired a Project Stakeholder Committee. The target group for this small scale initiative was 10 host homes located at destinations in Trinidad and Tobago and the major objective is to demonstrate the use of solar water heating to the public at large and its potential benefits including long term cost savings.  Technical workshops were conducted to educate the host home owners on the technical and financial aspects of the project.  Implementation works which were started in November 2006 are completed and the Project Team continue to monitor system performance.

The Ministry also participated in a Photovoltaics Committee that was chaired by the University of Trinidad and Tobago which undertook a pre-feasibility study in 2007 to determine the prospects for photovoltaics industry in Trinidad and Tobago.  It was found that there is  potential for synergies between this country and its regional neighbours in establishing a viable indigenous PV industry.


At the regional level, Trinidad and Tobago through the MEEA, is a member of the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP) which was launched in April 2004 among 12 Caribbean countries and recently its lifespan was extended to 2009.  CREDP’s mandate is to increase the RE contribution of the region’s electricity generation to an estimated 5% by 2015 from 2% approximately in 2004.  It is estimated that this increased use of renewable energy will translate into reductions in carbon dioxide emissions of 680,000 tons per annum.

Over the years CREDP has provided opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago to:

* Interact with its Caribbean counterparts on the development of renewable energy initiatives and lessons to be learnt from the various situational experiences across the different sources of RE applications and technologies,
* Obtain first hand information on the peculiar energy needs in each Caribbean country,
* Understand and have greater involvement in the development of the various sources of RE for which we have a competitive advantage, eg, solar, wind, ocean currents etc.
* Pool expertise and resources in a regional effort to develop the Renewable energy industry of the Caribbean to minimize our dependence on fossil fuel, and
* Enhance local initiatives and expertise from institutions such as UWI, UTT and other to increase the use of RE in the local energy mix.



CIPORE Focal Point Office

Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries
Level 24 Tower C, Energy
International Waterfront
#1 Wrightson Road
Trinidad and Tobago
West Indies
Tel 868- 225-4334,  Ext 2439
Fax 868 225- 5764




Fast Facts

  • Capital: Port of Spain
  • Official Languages: English
  • Demonym: Trinidadian, Tobagonian
  • Government: Parliamentary democracy and Federal constitutional monarchy
  • Independence: 31 August 1962
  • Area: 5,128 km2/1,978 sq mi
  • Population: 1,305,000 (est 2005)
  • Currency: TT Dollar

RE Snapshot

  • RE Interests: Solar
  • RE Target: NYA
  • Utility Company: Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC)
  • RE in Grid Supply: No
  • Energy Institutions: Ministry of Energy & Energy Industries, Petroleum Company of Trinidad & Tobago (PETROTRIN), The National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago and National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad & Tobago (Retail Marketing).

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