“In Trinidad and Tobago we have the human capacity for innovation, tolerance for newer ideas and a vision to achieve excellence in all spheres of human endeavours.” – Prime Minister, the Honourable Kamla Persad Bissessar at the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 2014.
These confident statements were made in recognition of Trinidad and Tobago’s aggressive new strategies to diversify the energy mix, increase deployment of Renewable Energy Technologies and increase Energy Efficiency.
Currently a large part of the focus is on current energy efficiency efforts in Trinidad and Tobago’s large industrial sector, as the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in the industrial sector is Trinidad and Tobago’s first major priority.
In addition, emphasis is being placed on Low Carbon Transport including a USD $300 million Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) master plan to implement various incentives including increased delivery points for CNG, tax exemptions for imported CNG vehicles and conversion of the mass transport sector from diesel to CNG.
A huge part of their move towards mitigation of climate change is to encourage rapid deployment of Renewable Energy Technologies through Feed-In Tariffs and the implementation of the legislative amendments, technical adaptations and fiscal regime packages through policy development which is now underway. This clears the way for rapid development of Solar PV, Wind and Biomass generated electricity into the National Grid.
A main facet of these efforts is the Pilot Lightbulb Exchange Initiative, an ongoing activity at the Ministry Of Energy and Energy Affairs which demonstrates that small changes to energy usage can have a big difference on the environment and economy. The programme takes place in low-income rural areas and preliminary results shows that consumers are reducing energy consumption and reducing electricity bills by simple yet effective changes to daily routines. This in spite of Trinidad and Tobago’s gas based economy having one of the lowest electricity rates in the region. It was recognized on the international arena in the year 2014 with the Cleaner Energy Initiative of the Year Award from the Petroleum Economist magazine.
The aggressive National Energy Communications Campaign continues to roll out in the national media and online, seeking to inform and educate the population on the energy sector, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and is centered around a unique and award winning website, www.myenergytt.com.
The Government has already made significant capital investments in outfitting community facilities and schools, police surveillance bays and coastal areas with off-grid solar photovoltaic lighting. Each year the numbers of these facilities are doubled.
In January 2015, the Prime Minister announced that Trinidad and Tobago would pioneer a Caribbean Energy Thematic Fund for CARICOM Member States, to address regional energy security, at the first ever Caribbean Energy Security Summit in Washington D.C. She proposed working with the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the World Bank, the IMF and other international donors, friends of the Caribbean and the private sector to provide the method and means of achieving energy security in an efficient and sustainable manner with an initial investment of USD$1 billion.
The achievements will continue to propel Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency forward to building a more energy-diverse Trinidad and Tobago, reduce CO2 emissions and encourage