CUC President and CEO Richard Hew(CNS):
The utilities regulator, OfReg, has accepted a plan submitted by the Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) that sets out a road-map for future energy use and a transition from a fossil fuel based portfolio to one dominated by renewable energy, introducing natural gas and increasing the storage and baseload of renewable generation technologies. The plan was prepared by industry consultants Pace Global following public consultation on Grand Cayman, where CUC is the monopoly power supplier. Their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) recommends a portfolio of energy sources to feed the grid, which will be almost 60% renewable energy.
In a press release about the plan and the thumbs-up from OfRreg, CUC President and CEO Richard Hew said he was pleased with the final results of study. “We now look forward to playing a lead role in the stable transformation of our grid to largely renewable energy sources and to delivering the associated economic and environmental benefits to electricity consumers and the general public,” he said.
The acceptance of the IRP by OfReg does not greenlight any specific projects in the plan, as each one will require approval as they are rolled out. CUC has already begun using power from a solar plant in Bodden Town but it has plans for much more green energy projects as well as improving its own storage capacity for customers using renewables to be able to feed their excess power back into the grid.
“Renewable costs have come down significantly in recent years and projections of the IRP show that a combination of renewables, natural gas and smaller amounts of diesel, and battery storage will provide lower and more stable electricity costs than continued reliance on purely diesel-fired engines,” he said. “The future supply mix reduces green-house gas emissions by 68% in 2030, meeting the Paris Accord climate targets and in line with goals of the Cayman Islands National Energy Policy. Importantly, this can all be achieved while maintaining a highly reliable grid.”
The comprehensive plan, which looks at a range of potential sources of renewable energy, also notes the proposal for CUC to enter into a deal with government and its partners to use electricity from the waste-to-energy plant that the health ministry has promised as part of the long-awaited integrated national waste-management strategy.
However, the document predicts that only 5MW would be generated by the burning of garbage, with natural gas and solar expected to be the main drivers of CUC’s plan to ween itself off diesel.
The IRP involved contributions from the public, which began with consultation back in 2016 when CUC invited members of the public to attend presentations by Pace Global. This provided an overview of the process, results of the technology screening and methodology for construction of various resource portfolios.
See CUC’s IRP in the CNS Library
Category: Business, Energy, Science & Nature, utilities