Caribbean countries urged to increase provision of clean, secure energyMonday, June 07, 2021
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley today said Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries have an opportunity to increase the penetration of natural gas within the Caribbean, which will aid in providing a clean, secure supply of energy to regional countries as they transition away from sources such as coal and heavy fuel oil.
Rowley, who is also the chairman of the 15-member regional integration movement, told the virtual opening of the Trinidad and Tobago Energy Chamber's Energy Conference that many Caribbean countries have already begun their transition to sustainable forms of energy, by incorporating renewables into their energy mix.
“We have seen Barbados and Jamaica set ambitious national targets for the utilisation of renewable energy. Barbados is aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and Jamaica's target set at 50 per cent by 2030. The collective targets of the CARICOM states set at 28 per cent renewable energy penetration by 2022 and 47 per cent by 2027,” Rowley told the audience that also included President Chandrikapersad Santokhi of Suriname, his Guyanese counterpart, Dr Irfaan Ali and Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
“There is an opportunity to increase the penetration of natural gas within the Caribbean, which will aid in providing a clean, secure supply of energy to Caribbean countries as they transition away from sources such as coal and heavy fuel oil. Historically, the challenges in bringing natural gas to these markets include the relatively small size of the markets and the need for the development of infrastructure for regasification, transportation and distribution.”
Rowley said that in a report titled “Unveiling the Natural Gas Opportunity in the Caribbean”, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) identifies liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivery innovations in small-scale shipping and floating regasification units as avenues through which natural gas may be economically delivered to Caribbean countries with small markets.
He said Jamaica's Floating Storage and Regasification Terminal, which is the first of its kind in the Caribbean, is a promising sign and proof that there is room for natural gas in the Caribbean energy markets.
“This represents an area in which regional cooperation can be increased and countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Guyana can lead the energy transition by harnessing our expertise among ourselves, as well as sharing experiences and learnings with other Caribbean countries.”
Rowley said that it is no secret that the Caribbean region, as a collection of small island developing states (SIDS), stands to be significantly impacted by the adverse effects of climate change.
“We have already witnessed some instances of these adverse effects, such as the devastation on Dominica by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Despite our relatively minute contribution to global emissions, the Caribbean region has a vested interest in and support for global efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, due to our vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.”
He said Trinidad and Tobago, even though it currently uses the cleanest burning fossil fuel for its power generation, is still aware that there is room for improvement and one of these areas which is a near-term priority is the minimisation of emissions all along the value chain, from production of natural gas to its consumption.
Rowley said that the National Gas Company (NGC) Trinidad and Tobago has embarked on a proactive campaign to reduce the carbon impact of its operations and last announced that it has become a member of the United Nations Environmental Programme Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP).
He said the OGMP is a comprehensive, measurement-based methane-reporting framework with standardised, rigorous and transparent emissions accounting practices.
“As a member of the partnership, the NGC will voluntarily report transparently on its methane emissions, with an aim to reduce these emissions by utilising global standards for methane emissions reporting, measurement and control.”
In his address, Rowley said that the region had been severely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and that the International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2020 noted that, with respect to the energy transition, it was too soon to say whether the pandemic represents a setback for the efforts to bring about a sustainable energy future, or whether it would catalyse the energy transition.
“While we have seen many international energy companies and jurisdictions such as the European Union announce ambitious energy transition plans and targets, the IEA World Energy Outlook also notes that, with the pandemic still ongoing, many uncertainties remain and there are crucial energy policy decisions to be made yet.
“For some countries, like ours, the focus is to be on economic recovery, and the economic slowdown resulting from the pandemic has caught us making our first significant, deliberate steps towards clean energy.”