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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

Joel Julien

[email protected]

Two major solar projects that will generate solar energy in this country at a cost on par with current electricity prices have been announced by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

Rowley made the statement yesterday as he delivered the feature address at the Energy Chamber’s virtual Energy Efficiency and Renewables Conference titled “Shaping the Caribbean’s Energy Future.”

He said the Roadmap to Recovery team recommended stimulating activity in the area of energy efficiency and setting ambitious targets for increased power generation from renewables.

“To this end, as you may be aware, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI) recently announced the winning bid in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Utility Scale Renewable Energy Projects. A consortium formed by Lightsource Renewable Global Development Limited (Lightsource BP), Shell Trinidad and Tobago Limited and BP Alternative Energy Trinidad and Tobago Limited submitted successful proposals for two projects,” Rowley said.

“These projects will generate 92.2 MW of electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) sources at Couva; and 20 MW of electricity from solar PV sources at Trincity, at a cost that is on par with the current electricity prices in T&T,” he said.

These projects form part of an overall plan by the government to reduce carbon emissions in this country by 2030.

“The aim of Trinidad & Tobago is to achieve a reduction in overall emissions from the three sectors by 15 per cent by 2030 from Business as Usual (BAU), which in absolute terms is an equivalent of one hundred and three million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent,” he said.

In its Renewable Energy Market Update for May 2020, the International Energy Agency has noted that the Covid-19 crisis is negatively impacting the global growth in renewable power capacity.

“Now more than ever, renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives are needed as we come face to face with a rapidly changing energy and economic landscape, combined with the threat of climate change,” Rowley said.

“However, in addition to looking to renewable energy and energy efficiency to secure a clean, sustainable future for generations to come, it is also our duty as the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to ensure that we are maximizing the use of the country’s rich natural resources to the benefit of the citizens. We must, therefore, re-examine how we derive the greatest value from our natural gas,” he said.

Chief executive officer of the Energy Chamber Dr Thackwray Driver described Rowley’s announcement as a game-changer.

“I can’t help noting one thing in particular when you were discussing the utility scale solar your comment that we would be producing energy on par with local electricity costs, now that’s a big announcement because local electricity has been cheap and it has been historically cheap and if we’re able to produce solar on par with that that’s a game-changer,” Driver said.