DoE queries LNG as viable future option

| 01/12/2020 | 26 Comments
LNG storage tank (not in the Cayman Islands)

(CNS): In its initial response to a proposal to build a liquid natural gas depot in Bodden Town, the Department of Environment not only raised concerns about the negative impact it would have on the immediate environment but also the wisdom of choosing LNG. The DoE said the proposal must be considered against the National Energy Policy target of generating 70% of local power from renewables by 2037.

Responding to Breakers LNG (Cayman) Ltd’s submission of a preliminary project concept, the DoE pointed out that while LNG is often referred to as a lower-emissions fuel facilitating a transition to renewables, it is in fact a hydrocarbon-based fuel that will still contribute to the overall carbon budget.

The DoE noted that the proposal would require a significant financial investment and time to realise the full scope of the works involved in the offshore facilities and the associated construction of roads and pipelines.

“The timeframe required for investors to realise a return on their investment may therefore not align with the timeframe required for the country to achieve decarbonisation of its power generation in order to do our part to keep global warming at or below 1.5⁰C,” the DoE said.

“The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly demonstrates that for low-lying, vulnerable islands like the Cayman Islands, limiting global warming to 1.5⁰C is a necessity as even an increase of 0.5⁰C above 1.5 ⁰C will result in unprecedented adverse impacts and a much harsher climate,” the DoE warned.

As well as questions over how LNG can help Cayman meet the renewable target, the DoE said the project presented “substantial environmental implications” and a full environmental impact assessment would be required if the project was formally proposed.

“The EIA Directive (2016) requires public consultation during the development of the Terms of Reference,” the DoE said. This would require the detailed scope of issues to be addressed and the environmental statement that summarises the findings to be published. “This proposal represents a large infrastructure project of national significance. As such, it will need to be robustly assessed to ensure that all facets of the proposals are carefully considered.”

DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie told CNS that, given the scale of the project, the proponents were advised to talk with the Energy and Fuels divisions of the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) in order to obtain guidance on how the project may be viewed from their perspective. “There are larger national policy issues that are at play and would need to be considered,” she noted.

However, OfReg said that the developers have not yet approached them. “We also understand that the proposed project is at the preliminary stages and therefore matters such as the practicalities of the location, licensing, compliance, etc, would be entertained when a definitive project has been fully scoped and presented to OfReg,” said Fuels Director Duke Munroe.

CUC, which would be the main customer, said it was not working with the developers but that the power company’s Integrated Resource Plan calls for the consideration of LNG as an alternative to diesel fuel.

“CUC is presently developing a competitive bid process to be issued in the first half of 2021, which would call for proposals to deliver natural gas to its North Sound Power plant, subject to approval by OfReg and other governmental agencies. At this time, CUC is neither aware of any plans by, nor is CUC working in consortium with, any LNG project developer,” a spokesperson told CNS.

CUC has said on a number of occasions recently that LNG had the potential to stabilise the cost of electricity and has described it as a greener alternative, despite the points made by the DoE.

CNS contacted the government following the release of a statement by Breakers LNG (Cayman), which was issued after the depot plans were circulated in the public domain and concerns emerged that the project had originally involved much more extensive plans that included a cargo port, a possible cruise berthing dock and a marina.

While it is understood that the plans have been placed before ministers, no one from the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure has responded to our inquiries.

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Comments (26)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wait for your CUC bill to go up for no reason only but to pay for this ludicrous idea

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can’t take care of your garbage and worried about the myth of global warming ..start small perhaps finish a school …

  3. Anonymous says:

    Nuclear power plant that will be next

    • Anonymous says:

      A nuclear power plant would be entirely superfluous to Cayman’s needs.

      In line with the philosophy behind the Breakers proposal, what we really need is a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility, where fuel from places like, say, Iran, can be shipped in, reprocessed into useable grade material, then processed out, without anyone noticing. If said nuclear refuelling facility could be linked to a golf course, and could be used to get a road built by CIG to e.g. that golf course, then all the better.

      I mean, who cares about the safety and well being of the Cayman Islands, who cares about the environment, and in particular who cares about the losers who live within a 10 mile radius of Breakers. This is money, and they are just simple losers right? Right?

    • Anonymous says:

      Which would great.
      They are making 3MW stations now.
      The Ruskies have a containerized one. When it need refueling they just bring in a new one and take the old one back.
      Much cleaner and cheaper than bunker oil diesel

  4. Anonymous says:

    What is the current zoning for the proposed site?

    Also, will the persons that live in that area have any influence in protecting their housing investments?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Everything is a trade off as far as Im concerned let them do it. The environment is a disaster now anyhow. While they are at it move the current LNG storage its next to houses and a school. Disaster waiting to happen

    • Anonymous says:

      Not LNG as we have none in Cayman as yet Current has on island is Propane in a mounded facility safer then above ground tanks which is what you need for LNG why are CUC not talking to the two locally owned Propane companies

    • Anonymous says:

      Is that one LNG or LPG?

      2 different things.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not much difference

        • Anonymous says:

          There is, LPG is stored at ambient temperature under pressure. LNG is stored in insulated spherical tanks at -260 degrees F.

        • Anonymous says:

          No quite a lot of difference really, including the need for complex refrigeration systems for LNG and a distinct difference in safety implications if it leaks.

      • Anonymous says:

        LPG Propane LNG natural gas
        We have two companies on island that sell propane both owned by Cayman families so why bring in some company from the USA

        • Anonymous says:

          They are not the same and storage is not interchangeable. LNG requires totally different storage vessels.

        • Anonymous says:

          Because they are being brought in by another Cayman operator who wants some of the action currently monopolized by the first two?

    • Jah Dread says:

      Well since there is no consensus on liquid vs fossil, vs solar; then let’s get together and bun some serious kujun ping. Keep everybody fully lit, so me say, ereeeeeey.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Reduce, not diversify. Two subtly different things. Building a second tank farm and piping infrastructure for a fuel that is only slightly less energy/carbon polluting/costing than diesel is not the big step forward into renewable energy that Cayman (the world) needs to take. And if you’ve got to bulldoze current trees to build a future tank farm for fuel being shipped into Cayman are you really reducing your carbon footprint? Really? #CaymanCanDoBetter

  7. Anonymous says:

    Clean production of hydrogen from ammonia is still a long, long way off being a viable option. That’s probably why DoE haven’t factored it in yet. Bear in mind that the countries you’ve quoted are setting ‘targets’ for a technology that’s still being developed. If, as Japan found out with OTEC, it doesn’t work those figures are meaningless as is your argument. You need to come back and re-visit this option in a few years time before claiming it’s the way forward.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another pipe-dream concept , up there with the Mandalay and the Ironwood developments.
    If the discussion was on a wind farm generation proposal out at East End or in North Sound , DOE might actually garner some interest & respect from the public.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The Caribbean could be net exporters of limitless truly-green, solar-derived, hydrogen/ammonia if there were political will, and minds to do so. Japan, Australia, China and Iceland have all announced planet-shifting gigawatt targets for this deployable greentech that’s not even on our suspiciously-outdated, and compromised radar screens. It’s sad that Gina Petrie Ebanks is still talking about 1.5’C warming target like that’s still an achievable mission. IPCC and UNEP were talking about that ship having sailed a couple years ago. If they can’t keep up, maybe Gina Petrie Ebanks and Duke Monroe shouldn’t be occupying these key positions of trust, or playing the role as the arbiters of what’s best for us, or the planet? Cayman’s youth deserve better.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you’ve given up on 1.5C, then it doesn’t matter how much pollution we pump out since we’re toast anyway. Good thing we’ve got Gina in her seat and not you. At least she’s trying to raise alarms if anyone will listen.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s almost 2021 and humanity (and probably most of DoE) still want to eat cheeseburgers. That’s the tragedy in a nutshell. If 2’C was the high confidence figure 2-4 years ago, we aren’t getting to 1.5’C eating cheeseburgers in 2021.

        From IPCC Special Report 2018:
        A.3.2. Future climate-related risks depend on the rate, peak and duration of warming. In the aggregate, they are larger if global warming exceeds 1.5°C before returning to that level by 2100 than if global warming gradually stabilizes at 1.5°C, especially if the peak temperature is high (e.g., about 2°C) (high confidence). Some impacts may be long-lasting or irreversible, such as the loss of some ecosystems (high confidence). {3.2, 3.4.4, 3.6.3, Cross-Chapter Box 8 in Chapter 3}

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