OfReg gives nod to CUC plan to ease off fossil fuels

| 16/01/2019 | 19 Comments
Cayman News Service

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

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Category: Business, Energy, Science & Nature, utilities

Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I think we should abandon earth due to rising Co2 levels and climate change, because we have enough Co2 in the atmosphere on Mars to develop plant life eventually creating a habitable atmosphere for us to live in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am giving OFReg premission to lay off the overseas trips!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Fracking is the way forward

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t the pension companies get together and fund the solar network to sell to CUC? Better still, buy CUC. I don’t see any reason why 60% of our guaranteed profit is being siphoned on up to Fortis Inc. The people of Cayman Islands deserve better.

  5. Lo-Cal says:

    Speak about the bottom line.

    If CUC starts to use renewable energy as the primary source for energy what will happen to the $0.75 PG Gov charge on fuel? If they don’t have to pay for this fully anymore, will the savings be passed on?

    None was passed on when the solar farm came online!

    • Anonymous says:

      The duty on fuel for CUC is currently $0.25 per IG which is included in the price of fuel supplied to CUC by Rubis and Sol. When the solar farm came online the amount of diesel fuel used was reduced and the cost of that displaced diesel, including the duty came off the fuel factor charge on consumers bills.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Totally unrelated to this topic but related to OfReg’s role as regulator for Energy Sector….

    I have passed the question onto Auntie.

  7. Anonymous says:

    CUC has been buying multi-fuel generators for at least the last 15 years – they could all be running on LPG right now. I sense a fudge here!

  8. Anonymous says:

    “transition from a fossil fuel based portfolio to one dominated by renewable energy, introducing natural gas”. Natural gas is a fossil fuel.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:40 Fair comment but it’s a clean fossil fuel.

      • Anonymous says:

        What an oxymoron. It isn’t clean, it just produces less CO2 than traditional fuels.

      • nickcayman says:

        No such thing as ‘clean fossil fuel’. Less CO2 output? Yes, somewhat less.

        • Anonymous says:

          3:53 & 4:42 You’re quoting the facts selectively. It’s not just CO2, LPG produces a fraction of the NOx (Nitrogen dioxide/nitric oxide – both serious health hazards) emissions that petrol or diesel produce. LPG is also significantly lower on particle emissions and that’s the real issue at CUC – they’re blowing diesel smoke over GC with virtually no pollution controls. I’ve run an LPG powered car in the UK and the emission levels were pretty much on par with most hybrids. The other great advantage of LPG is if you have a leak it doesn’t pollute everything in the area – have either of you ever tried to clean up a diesel spill?

      • Cess Pita says:

        I’m all for getting rid of fossils, far too many in Government as it is.

    • Anonymous says:

      Derived from dinosaur farts.

  9. Anonymous says:

    OfReg has finally done something sensible. Now move on to the other utilities and ask them for proposals rather than thinking that you know more than they do about their industry.

    OK, fuel pricing is still a bit sketchy, but OfReg doesn’t need to be spending millions of dollars on consultants to advise them on water and telecommunications, and stop believing that some consultant can come here and after two weeks they will know more than the people who have spent decades working here in the industry.

    • Anonymous says:

      What exactly did they do? They said “that looks like a good plan – go for it…” I could have said that!

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