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T&T government pushes renewable energy agenda

In promoting Renewable Energy Awareness Campaign in tandem with Caricom Energy Week, the Government has outlined several measures and initiatives to sensitise people about the need for energy conservation. Juliana Johan-Boodram, permanent secretary in the Minister of Energy, laid out some initiatives the Government will be using in the future to better utilise and conserve energy. The Ministry will be:

• Taking steps in commissioning a wind resource assessment study.

• Working with Ministry of Community Development.

“We are looking to design an outfit as part of pilot project for two community centres to show at the community level how we can use energy initiatives. We are being assisted in the design and construction of these community centres by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF),” she said.

• Undertaking a study of “green housing” and more energy efficiency through housing programmes.

“We are liaising with Ministry of Housing in this regard. There is a small housing programme in east Trinidad, so once we do the studies and once the economics are acceptable and feasible, we will look to see how we will put in renewable and energy efficient initiatives,” she said.

• Working with the Ministry of Education.

“We have a training teachers programme so the teachers can impart this learning to students. Also, training in the use and application of technologies. These technologies will be installed at selected schools,” Johan-Boodram said.

Johan-Boodram was speaking at Monday’s launch of Renewable Energy Awareness Campaign in tandem with Caricom Energy Week on the Brian Lara Promenade, Port-of-Spain.

Objectives

Events at Caricom Energy Week have been taking place against the backdrop of T&T working on a national renewable energy policy.

“The ministry is developing a national energy policy green paper, which we expect to complete by the end of this month, which identifies a role for renewable industry and energy efficiency as part of the country’s sustainable development,” The Minister of Energy, Kevin Ramnarine said.

He said the main objectives of Renewable Energy Awareness Campaign are:

• To increase citizens awareness and understanding of the energy sector

• To raise awareness of accountability in the energy sector

• To educate the population on the benefits of renewable energy and compressed natural gas (CNG)

• To increase awareness for fiscal incentives for alternative energy usage

Ramnarine said the ministry is working closely with the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme, which made an offer to assist the ministry in this exercise.

Exploring solar solutions

Ramnarine spoke of the potential of solar power.

“In the area of solar photovoltaic, we continue to develop opportunities for solar development. We are exploring the idea of establishing a solar photovoltaic manufacturing capability. Such an industry will have linkages with the local natural gas industry through the use of gas as fuel and could be another phase in the evolution of this country’s natural gas industry,” he said.

He said the Government sustainable energy agenda includes improvement in the use of energy in key consuming sectors in order to generate savings and reduce T&T’s carbon footprint.

“A recent study by the National Energy Corporation (NEC) to establish A Policy Framework Programme for the Conduct of Energy Audits in Pt Lisas estate shows that up to 50 per cent in carbon dioxide  emissions reduction can be achieved  by 2023. It is much simpler than Pt Lisas. It comes down to the role of every citizen. The time has come in T&T for there to be legislation for energy efficiency. The Ministry of Energy will be coming up with policy paper on energy efficiency, and, in collaboration with Attorney General’s Office, on a draft energy policy bill,” he said.

He gave examples of the Government taking the lead in energy conservation.

“If a Government is renting a building, that building would have to have fluorescent lights to rent the building. The building would have to have proper tint so that the building is not being heated and cooled simultaneously.”

He spoke of the Government’s plans to increase CNG use.

“The Minister of Transport, Devant Maharaj, and myself have been working very hard on the PTSC fleet and there are roughly 300 buses in the fleet. It is the intention of the Government to convert the entire fleet to compressed natural gas, and thereafter, all buses coming in T&T should be compressed natural gas buses. After, we will move to maxi-taxis and other large fleet owners in T&T.”

Source: T&T Guardian



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