PR drive begins for three-year-old energy policy

| 11/08/2020 | 20 Comments
Solar panels on the Tomlinson Building (Photo courtesy Affordable Solar Cayman)

(CNS): With the clock ticking on the ambitious goals set out in the National Energy Policy, which was adopted more than three years ago, the Ministry of Infrastructure is beginning a new public relations and education campaign to promote energy efficiency. However, government has not yet taken any meaningful action to achieve the goal of reducing Cayman’s near total dependence on fossil fuels to under 30% by 2037.

The energy policy was drafted seven years ago and adopted by Cabinet in February 2017 but very little has been done to get Cayman to achieve the target of a 70% cut in the use of diesel.

CUC is now generating somewhere in the region of 5% of the electricity it supplies through renewables via the solar farm in Bodden Town, owned by BMR Energy, as well as the Customer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) programme, which is fully subscribed, and the Distributed Energy Resource (DER) programme. While the company hopes to be providing just a quarter of the power supply through non-renewable by 2025, Cayman still remains a long way off the policy target.

Officials are planning to use the campaign to “create awareness” and an understanding of “how energy is supplied and consumed in Cayman, and the goals that have been put in place to improve on these processes”.

The education drive was described in a press release issued Monday, announcing the campaign as the first step in implementing the policy. But there is still nothing tangible on the table from government about meeting Cayman’s future energy needs.

Less than two months ago the Department of Environment and the National Conservation Council published a report with a defined pathway to a greener economy for the Cayman Islands. But the premier was dismissive about the content, stating that it was “laudable but idealistic”, with nothing in it to feed people.

Nevertheless, Joey Hew, his minister with responsibility for commerce, planning and infrastructure, said it could not be business as usual if Cayman is going to achieve the targets set out in the energy policy, which requires significant greening of the economy.

“For us to achieve the targets set out in the National Energy Policy, we will require concerted efforts by all stakeholders, and from every area of our economy that consumes energy,” he said. “An important component of those efforts will be increasing education on various aspects of the policy so that the general public will have a better understanding of the framework government is using, and therefore make choices that will reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions.”

Energy Policy Coordinator Kristen Augustine said that over the next few years the ministry will be seeking ways to allow everyone to contribute to a sustainable Cayman. “From the transport choices we make, to our energy and water consumption, we all have a part to play in creating a better future for the Cayman Islands,” she said.

The release announcing the campaign stated that the COVID-19 pause had inspired a renewed focus on sustainability, creating an opportunity to re-ignite the policy with the Energy Cayman campaign.

The policy itself consists of 99 different strategies spanning a variety of sectors, such as electricity, fuels, transportation, land use and buildings, water and wastewater, public education and awareness, and climate change and the environment. It has identified goals and targets to meet the sustainability aspirations for Cayman.

The first step, according to the ministry, is ensuring that the community is well educated and knowledgeable on the impact of energy demand on the environment through the launch of this public education campaign.

It could be argued, however, that the general public is already increasingly aware of the issues relating to energy and the need for greener economy through grassroots campaigns, such as those pushing for a plastics ban and against the increasing coastal development.

Nevertheless, the government is launching the campaign, hoping to see “residents and businesses of Cayman join forces to create a sustainable future for our future generations”, Augustine added.

Some of the proposed solutions to addressing a greener future include implementing new building codes to improve sustainability and energy efficiency. But Cayman shows no signs of wanting to restrict or limit its continued and unsustainable levels of development, especially on the coast. Instead, the policy is seeking ways to use land more efficiently for building and development.

Installing sustainable and environmentally friendly utility scale solar farms is also on the list, though so far CUC’s farm remains the only project. The policy points to finding alternative fuel opportunities to replace diesel but aside from solar farms no other potential ideas, such as government-subsidized wind turbines or a solar panel grant system, are noted. It does, however, include the proposal for a green loan programme to support solar installation.

The policy also talks about developing infrastructure to accommodate more electric vehicles, but unless those vehicles can be powered by electricity from renewable sources, it adds little to the goal to cut emissions.

See the National Energy Policy in the CNS Library.

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Category: Energy, Science & Nature

Comments (20)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Joey Who?

  2. NoName says:

    Another day in Lala land where CUC runs the 3 ring circus at OffReg , if ever an honest conversation is to be had about renewables and solar on our little island , utility scale storage capability shall be part of the plan , but this is extremely unlikely , any real effort shall have come prior to the elections ! I find oddly funny that the dump latter still is not going anywhere , that people that contribute 2 to 3 times more energy to the grid than they draw from the grid still face “fuel charges” and that the maximum installed base is limited to 10KW whereas the real marker is about 20KW

  3. Anonymous says:

    Election MUST BE right around the corner. Joey “CamanaBoy” Hew pulling out the usual talking points early this election.

    How bout the Government try and make the cost of energy more affordable in Cayman as well? After all, it greatly affects the cost of living for all residents.

  4. Anonymous says:

    CNS: do you have any update on where we are with capping the Dump, a recycling plant and mandatory recycling? All this money spent on roads, airport expansion and who knows what else is not getting us any closer to solving the problem with the massive amount of garbage people are generating. I am truly amazed that in my neighborhood alone some households fill 4 garbage cans to overflowing in less than one week. Let’s get our priorities straight!!! This problem is not going to go away on its own.

    CNS: The latest update is nowhere. Let us hope that this becomes an election issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. I’m appalled that in my condos (15 units) the skip is filled weekly with loads of cardboard & glass. I’ve emailed owners & offered to do the drop off of the recyclable items, but no response from any units.
      We can & should do better.

    • Anonymous says:

      The update is here:

      🚭📛🛑“The premier, who spent five hours Sunday night and early Monday morning at the scene of the fire, summed up what he saw that night as “hell”.🧯
      “He stressed that dealing with the landfill has been a priority ‼️for his administration.”
      ““It is a very complex project involving a significant number of elements, and it is a very, very expensive 💵💵💵💵💵💵exercise,” McLaughlin added.”
      “With negotiations, the premier cautioned, there is always a chance of failure❌.

      However, McLaughlin said, if the project is abandoned, Cayman would have to go back🆘 to a whole new request for proposals, a whole new bidding and procurement process.
      “That’d be somebody else’s problem, not mine. ”❗️❗️❗️❗️❗️❗️

  5. Anonymous says:

    Net Metering Now. Smash the monopoly.

  6. Anonymous says:

    caymankind know nothing of environmental protection.
    they think building more roads solves traffic issues and also ban ride sharing platforms to protect a local taxi cartel.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Roads being repaved, and now this. Do we have an election around the corner?

    Is this what it takes to get certain things going? Just don’t increase the cost of living for the poor now to get things done.

    • Anonymous says:

      Joey the overpaid joker up to the usual tricks.
      Ten months before the next election this suddenly dawned on him. He needs to go in 2021.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is good providing CUC are not allowed to pull OfReg strings to effect change that suits just them. No one technology is the silver bullet but right now CUC is running the show. We need a regulator that works for all people, rich and poor. Joey needs to explore more incentives to get the general population on board. Only then will this goal be achieved, otherwise it will fade away like Vision 2008.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I would have installed solar panels if it didn’t cost so much…very long pay back.
    Perhaps govt can help us by offering duty free or subsidized encouragement .

    • Anonymous says:

      Already reduced/free duty on solar panels, etc. – Rather than subsidies what they may wish to try are low interest (1%) loans (CIDB) packaged with installation & insurance (both private sector). Timed out to the break-even point for the consumer. i.e., if its 7 years to break even on purchase and installation then with a 1% loan make it a 9 year package (including insurance cost). So no net loss (benefit assuming the system lasts through year 10, which it should) and a sustainable model (Govt. subsidies are less sustainable).

  10. Anonymous says:

    Forget this foolishness and build our damn port Joey.

    • Anonymous says:

      3.54 Port long gone thankfully. So forget that foolishness and give us same sex marriage.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Election time, Joey getting worried.

    • Anonymous says:

      Joey will do what dart tell him to do. There’s not an original thought in his head. I wasted my vote never again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Joey Who should be very worried because next election is he done

      • Anonymous says:

        I sincerely hope so. What a clown!
        What has he done for Cayman?
        Joey, if we are as stupid as you think we are, you are going to be re-elected. Not.

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