CUC’s use of renewable energy up 250%

| 02/05/2018 | 13 Comments
renewable energy, Cayman News Service

CUC power plant, North Sound Rd

(CNS): As Caribbean Utilities Company published its financial results for the first quarter of 2018 this week, Grand Cayman’s power provider has also revealed an increase in renewable energy use on the grid from 1 million kilowatts to 3.5 million kilowatts — a 250% jump from the same period last year. The company’s residential customer base increased by 2% and sales were up 3% but CUC profits fell. This has been attributed to a change in the way large commercial customers are billed and officials say they will be seeking intervention from the regulator to recover this loss.

In the quarterly report CUC said the revenues from large commercial clients fell under the newly introduced demand rate and were less than what would have been billed under the previous energy-only rate.

“The introduction of the demand rates for the large commercial customers, to be phased in over a three-year period, was intended to be revenue neutral and, with the early indications that they are not, the company has written to the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) to request a recovery of the shortfall and an adjustment in the rate going forward,” the report stated.

The customer base grew to 29,273, an increase of 509 customers compared to 2017, but the firm suffered a $1.8 million decline in net earnings when compared to the three months ending March, falling from $4.5 million to $2.7 million as a result of a number of factors, including the demand-rate billing.

President and CEO Richard Hew said the local economy continues to grow and the firm was in line with its plan were it not for the demand billing.

“The demand rate is intended to be revenue neutral and the shortfall is expected to be recovered in the future,” he said. “The company continues to execute on its five-year $219 million Capital Investment Plan to increase the reliability of the electricity system and to meet the demands of the growing economy.”

Hew said that capital expenditures during the first quarter of this year were $8.3 million and included distribution system extension and upgrades, generation replacement costs and LED street lighting replacement.

“I am also pleased to see the growth in renewable energy as we strive towards our goal of 25% renewable energy on the grid by 2025,” the firm’s president said. “The company remains focused on delivering a safe, sustainable and reliable service to its customers while at the same time improving efficiency and managing costs.”

See the full report on the CUC website here 

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Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    the usual wonderland nonsense from CUC…..that would only be acceptable in cayman.

  2. "Anonymousir" says:

    and bills .. bills …. still going up … CUC saving, we spending!

  3. Nando says:

    The report says that the renewable energy on the CUC grid has increased from 1.1 million KW to 3.5 million KW (that’s 3.5 billion watts) when the entire installed capacity of CUC is 161 million watts. I thought it was a typo in the article, but it’s mentioned twice in the actual report.

  4. Anonymous says:

    10 years ago CUC was arguing that solar panels couldn’t work here because the sun didn’t shine at night and wind power was no good because the winds don’t blow 24/7. At one point they even suggested that there was no equipment available to implement net metering, where surplus power is fed back into the grid, even though it was in use throughout Europe and the USA. Back then CUC was also (and I think still are) pushing OTEC as an alternative to wind and solar power even though there wasn’t, and still isn’t, a scrap of evidence that OTEC is viable.

    So CUC has finally been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century – is this anything to be proud of?

    Over the last decade too many opportunities have been missed to move away from diesel power generation because of CUC’s interference – it’s almost criminal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like it’s been a while since you did some research into OTEC viability. Try looking at Hawaii, Japan and Maldives all of which have working test facilities and are in the process of constructing plants with installed capacity of up to 100MW. Try looking outside your Cayman bubble once in a while.

      • Anonymous says:

        You made my point yourself, ‘working test facilities and are in the process of constructing plants with installed capacity of up to 100MW’. Test facilities and plants in the process of being built – no working commercial operations and that’s exactly how it was 10 years ago.

        The Hawaii operation is an experimental 100KW demo unit installed in 2015. Last time I checked the 100MW plant, which is being developed by Lockheed-Martin, was still only in the design stage. In fact for years Hawaii led the world in OTEC research (most of it under Federal funding) but all the earlier projects were shut down after failing to produce any commercially usable power

        In Japan the Okinawa plant is another ‘demonstration’ unit.

        The Maldives operation, which is being developed in conjunction with SWAC (Sea Water Air Conditioning), is specific to an eco-resort on one island. SWAC would actually be a viable option here but nobody seems to be pushing it?

        As the original comment said there’s not one scrap of evidence that OTEC is viable for large-scale commercial power generation in the foreseeable future. OTEC has been trying to get a foothold in places like Jamaica, Curacao and Sri Lanka without much obvious success while several other proposed OTEC operations have simply been cancelled because they didn’t stack up against the established alternative options of wind and solar power. Get your head around it – it isn’t a wonder solution to the energy crisis. It’s very limited, expensive and complicated option and CUC knew that from day one.

        I have no issues with the Cayman islands embracing OTEC technology as long as there is no government funding involved and it isn’t used, as it was 10 years ago, as an excuse to hold back the introduction of solar and/or wind power.

        • Anonymous says:

          5:02 The reason you aren’t seeing SWAC in use is two-fold. To start off with it’s a substantial upfront outlay, far more expensive and complicated than simply installing conventional a/c units. This means there needs to be viable long-term cost offset and, as we all know, long-term planning isn’t these islands strong point. But I suspect the main reason is simply that CIG wouldn’t approve it because CUC would lose so much money if it was installed in major projects. I know that one on-going SWAC system is saving the property owners around $400K a year and that’s based on North American energy prices in a comparatively cold climate.

          • Anonymous says:

            7:54 This is like solar hot water heating. When I worked in the Middle East 25 years ago all the buildings had this but do we see it here?

            Thanks to CUC the technology to replace diesel power seems to be accessible everywhere in the world except the Cayman Islands.

        • Anonymous says:

          So if working 100Kw plants aren’t evidence enough that the technology is viable what is? They must be stupid, have more money than sense to be constructing full scale operations according to your logic. You must have a major stake in solar to think it’s the final solution for Cayman. Somehow I think you’ll be proven wrong in the very near future.

          • Anonymous says:

            8:46 And you must have a vested interest in either OTEC or CUC. The 100KW plants are not ‘working’ they are demo models. On a good day 100KW might just about power 100 small properties and right now OTEC isn’t even doing that. The problem with engineering is that it’s fairly easy to build something on a small scale like this and show it off but turning it into a viable commercial operation is whole new ballgame. Try looking outside your Cayman bubble once in a while.

          • Anonymous says:

            CNS, you need a troll button to deal with posters like 8:46!

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