OfReg finds consultants for solar market review

| 23/06/2022 | 79 Comments
Cayman News Service
Solar panels on the Tomlinson Furniture Building (Photo courtesy of Affordable Solar Cayman)

(CNS): The Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) has awarded a CI$78,000 contract to consultants to conduct a ‘Value Of Solar Study’ to help the country move towards its renewable energy goals. OfReg is responsible for regulating the emerging solar sector and this is a small step in the long process towards that aim. In a press release issued Thursday, OfReg said that renewable energy consultants, RMI, had been engaged to examine the unique aspects of the local solar marketplace.

The goal set out in the National Energy Policy goals is for 70% of energy in the Cayman Islands to be generated by green resources. However, the country is way off target and just over 3% of electricity is currently produced by renewables. Five years since its creation, OfReg has still not rolled out the regulatory framework required for solar energy and has made no progress on speeding up the woefully slow transition.

Having secured this contract, RMI will be required to assess the value of photovoltaic (PV) generation from a societal as well as a utility perspective, OfReg stated. The study will include impacts on the transmission and distribution grid, and will look at energy costs, rate design options and the economic potential of local distributed solar energy systems.

“The costs of producing solar power have declined over recent years, so it is important to quantify the real benefits and costs of distributed solar generation so that more solar generation can be deployed,” Gregg Anderson, Executive Director of Energy at OfReg, said. “This important study by a highly respected organisation which will analyse the various benefits and costs and attach real dollar values to distributed solar generation. We expect that determining the value that solar provides to the grid and ratepayers will help inform our decision-making processes.”

Peter Gough, OfReg’s interim CEO, explained the importance of the study. Currently, CUC’s Consumer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) and Distributed Energy Resource (DER) programmes are not directly regulated because OfReg has only just begun working out how it will regulate this essential sector. This has been blamed for the incredibly slow adoption of green energy in the Cayman Islands.

“The value of solar study will help OfReg to determine a fair rate for energy that customer-owned solar systems provide the electric grid and is a critical step towards helping the Cayman Islands attain the clean energy future envisioned in its National Energy Policy goals,” Gough said.


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Category: Business, Energy, Politics, Private Sector Oversight, Science & Nature, utilities

Comments (79)

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  1. stop fleecing the public says:

    Cayman authorities are famous for forcing taxpayers to pay for studies that are 1) immediately ignored upon completion, and 2) never released to the public unless taxpayers sue in court to find out what they were forced to pay for. This study, like so many others, is just another lame attempt to make a government agency look like it’s on the side of the public. Whereas the truth is that OfReg is essentially a lobbyist firm for CUC — and should therefore be paid for by CUC. STOP FLEECING THE PUBLIC.

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    • A. Citizen says:

      It’s time for OfReg to go! They do nothing to deserve a place in government…….or anywhere else, We have too damn many people getting big bucks for spending too much time at that hog trough! Mr. Premier, please do something to help the people of the Cayman Islands. Get rid of OfReg and their drain on the economy!

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    • Anonymous says:

      No man, they won’t even let CUC build a solar farm too. I think at this point the only remaining explanation is they’re a lobbyist firm for the fuel companies

  2. Anonymous says:

    You have a fair-sized solar farm in operation right there in Bodden Town. Why not look at their costs and results. It’s right there in front of you. If the numbers look good, build another one and make CUC take the juice at the same price.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s simple folks. CIG entities run by private sector boards members I.e politician appointees don’t work.

      Its not that the private sector doesn’t have a few sensible persons. We are choosing the wrong ones.

      Advertise for all board members like the Governor and Deputy Governor does for their boards and you will see the difference.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you will find that OfReg may be the only board where members are not political appointees. The position must be advertised and there’s a process defined in the law. Applicants must apply to Cabinet and a nomination committee makes a selection with recommendations to Cabinet based again, on criteria defined in law. As a matter of fact, there’s such an Ad running right now. Check, at least, Compass, Cayman Times and OfReg’s website. There are many commenters here who apparently qualify and should apply.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Well, it’s been shown that Anonymous 9:59 pm and 7:50 am are correct. why is nothing being done?

        Hello? Mr. Premier, are you there?

  3. Anonymous says:

    In another topic we should ban American tourists now. The abortion ruling is set in the dark ages, surely cayman cannot welcome people from such a country? We are a uk terotory.. this needs strong leadership to denounce the disgraceful lack of women’s rights

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    • Anonymous says:

      I am sure that the overwhelming majority of Americans feel that
      the makers of such an idiotic
      ruling are feeble-minded idiots!
      I agree with the majority of
      Americans.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Have you had an abortion in Cayman? Because I don’t think you understand this.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We should ban all Americans because 6 of them decided to overturn a previous legal precedent? Which incidentally doesn’t make abortion illegal, but allows the states to pass their own laws on the issue. Even if we were to follow your tortured logic we should be banning people from those states that have outlawed abortion, not all 50.

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    • Anonymous says:

      aren’t abortions illegal here ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop the hysteria. Abortions aren’t banned. Abortions prohibited after 15-20weeks of pregnancy. Plenty of time to make your decision.
      Signed: Pro-Choice female

      CNS: It depends which State you are in. Abortions are totally banned in some with no exception for rape or incest. See here. Note that abortion is illegal in the Cayman Islands, with the only exception being when a pregnancy places a woman’s life in danger. See here.

      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t understand poor women in backwards states are going to suffer, right? I guess that doesn’t affect you so why should you care. And if you think they will stop at Roe, you’re nuts.

    • Anonymous says:

      We should ban those who come with their racist attitudes, like the one who was at the Kimpton the other day and asked the management to remove the colored people who were sea bathing in front of the hotel. She should have been placed on the next flight out of here. We don’t need that here at all, and need to stamp it out whenever it surfaces.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Who in Cayman is involved with the consultancy firm?

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    • Anonymous says:

      24 @ 5:12 pm – Good question, there’s always that angle…..Better yet, who in Lodge and connected is involved in that consultancy?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Does anyone know how many Lodge brothers are part of CIG ? What do they do? What is the purpose of the lodge?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Lotsa money??

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        • Anonymous says:

          Lodge = a closed secret cult to pervert justice, ensure government contracts go to lodge members, lodge brothers protect lodge brothers – be they right or wrong, is sexist – only males – there are no lodge sisters, protects lodge brothers in employment in government and private sector, lodge brothers employ lodge brothers, lodge is curse on society.

          Most male senior civil servants, RCIPS and politicians are lodge members.

          Stop protecting corruption expose lodge membership.

          Civil servants, RCIPS and politicians must be required to publicly disclose membership in secret cult societies such as lodges.

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          • Anonymous says:

            With your anti-lodge propaganda just perhaps you have drunk some of coolaid they were giving out in a certain South American country some years ago. If you would take the time to research what is Lodge you may be enlightened, but then again that maybe asking too much. Unfortunately the term Lodge is banded around to sweep up all types of lodges with the same brush so to speak. While there are some bad apples in the barrel called lodge, there are good ones too. Could it be also that you were denied membership, since you were deemed unfit by the one you wanted to join. There are motives for such behavior.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Trust me you don’t want to know!

  5. Anonymous says:

    3% – congratulations that is a whole 1% increase in a year. Just think in 20 years we will nearly be at a quarter. Must buy more CUC shares.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Enough! Any chance of a referendum to decide the fate of OfReg? Please CREA boost your cred and start a petition.

    #OffwithOfReg

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    • Anonymous says:

      It worked well with the cruiseship boondoggle! It makes sense NOT to deal with greedy legislators!

  7. Noname says:

    Let me break it down to simple understandable terms right here we have a price per Kw/h .26 CI per Kw/h the yearly savings amount to 10080.00 CI / year for a system that has costed about 130K CI (Solar Array , Railings, Wiring , Installation, Batteries and configuration).

    Panels today have reached a sensitivity that allows for charging even in overcast conditions (the longest charge period so far is May 6th , nevertheless the system went back to full charge during the course of the day, if your array is properly sized you don’t even need direct intense illumination.

    Dare I mention that all the cars of the household are all electric and that the whole place functions pretty continuously (wahing machine , AC , water heaters , dishwasher , dryer , fridge, servers wifi etc) and is inhabited year round ?

    The charge / discharge cycle of that system is kept well below 30 percent per 24 hour period (actual number below 20 percent) to limit strain on the storage which is kept way under peak power peak power of the system is 40KW (I am extremely conservative using that number). The batteries are well ventilated to avoid charge capability deterioration.

    The draw from the grid to power it all has been 0 Kw/h.

    It all boils down to an ROI period of 13 years (rounded up).

    If Ofreg needs 78K CI consultants to do simple math then this island is in a LOT of trouble.

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    • Anonymous says:

      All of which would be great if we were actually allowed to power our own houses from the panels rather than sell all the power generated to CUC. But we’re not because the rules are moronic.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You can absolutely go off the grid. Planning and Building Control can make it a bit of a hassle, but the law doesn’t stop you.

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        • Anonymous says:

          In that case Planning and Building Control need an attitude adjustment. All barriers to cost effective solar energy should be removed.

    • Stupid Grin says:

      If this is simple, then so am I.

      Everything makes some sense despite the stream-of-consciousness writing style with weirdly-placed punctuation, until I get to paragraph 4. What is the significance of the well-ventilated batteries and ‘charge cycle’? Maybe the Ofreg guys can explain this a bit better than Noname?

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      • Noname says:

        The charge cycle is your daylight time when your array is collecting power needed to not only power your home but also recharge your batteries that will provide power to your home during nighttime. It is important that there is air circulation where your batteries are stored so that any heat produced during charge or discharge does not accumulate.

        To simplify further take your personal computer as an example, a desktop computer has 3 points of heat , your storage bay, your central processing unit and your platform control hub. You want your airflow to be as steady and cool at all those points.

        lastly as to the need to provide ventilation you can lookup here:

        https://up.codes/viewer/florida/fl-mechanical-code-2020/chapter/5/exhaust-systems#502.4.2

        The batteries themselves do not produce heat if your demand is on the lower end of the peak capacity of the battery system (peak power of the module times the number of modules) The battery management module balances the charge and discharge across all the modules of the system .

        Lithium ion batteries tend to produce heat during discharge (remember how warm your laptop felt on your knees just a few years ago?) That is the reason why the Tesla roadster and most of the Tesla vehicles are built around liquid cooling circuits running through the battery pack.

        This design choice allows for higher energy density during charge and discharge than air cooled or passively cooled battery packs which is the case of pretty much every other electric cars present today’s on market.

        You can find further reading below :

        https://pluginreport.com/electric-cars-that-have-liquid-cooled-batteries/

        https://www.laserax.com/blog/ev-battery-cooling

        https://www.solar.com/learn/lg-chem-battery/

        This is one of the many reasons why most classical car manufacturers have been struggling to catch up to Tesla’s expertise in terms of battery thermal management.

        The power walls manufactured by Tesla are not widely different in design to what is being used to power the cars produced by Teslamotors.

        I hope that answers your questions.

    • Anonymous says:

      OFF with OfReg!!! They are leeches!

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    • Anonymous says:

      You need to account for interest on that $130k upfront investment so your ROI is probably something over 15 years. Your batteries, panels, etc. aren’t going to make it., but good luck.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What is this $78k for and what is OfReg getting paid for? Is this consultant related in any way to local Solar companies

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  9. Guido Marsupio says:

    First thing should be Dart turns Little Cayman 100% solar as a demonstration project. Brac next.

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    • ProudCaymanian says:

      Agreed! We have a “lab test” right there. With the size of Little Cayman (approx. 160 at 2021 census) where better to start. Use the $78K on them (or local consultants) even if Dart is footing the bill. At least it will go back into the local economy unless I am too simplistic and can’t see the forest for the trees or in Caymanian lingo the sea for the fish!

  10. Anonymous says:

    If this is the purpose of OfReg simply to have their overpaid, redundant, boneheaded, freeloading, dipsticks flip through industry journals to find yet another consultant then the consumers are really getting shafted.
    Make solar affordable for the masses not just the few with money to burn. Start with CUC being required to net meter residential solar installations from now on. Wipe OfReg from our map and have CIG directly hire people with specific and proven telecom water and energy regulatory experience.
    The cost savings can then be put to subsidising solar installation costs for all. With something close to real equitable solution for customers the 2037 target of 70% from renewable energy is the biggest pipe dream you’ve ever had.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Bravo real solutions! If these idiots cannot do anything without a consultant then why the hell are they there? Seriously????

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    • Anonymous says:

      How do you expect Ofreg to “make” solar affordable?
      Net metering is BS. Every commodity has a wholesale and retail price.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I feel what really meant to say was “how do you expect CUC to continue making a killing while keeping solar out of reach of the average consumer”.

  11. So bored of this $hit says:

    We’re a market of like 30,000 properties (its probs less i CBA looking). Why do we need to hire consultants? Does the fact that the USA promotes this (which has 10000000000000x as many properties) show its reliable and should be used?!?

    Why do we have to spend 80k for them to tell us something i could already tell them. fs i should have applied and just given them the google search results.

    3rd google result: https://www.wri.org/insights/setting-record-straight-about-renewable-energy

    This place has a knack for hiring consultants who borrow your watch to tell you the time.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Right now, purchase and installation costs for home solar in Cayman are so astronomical you need 25 years for your savings to pay for it. This is so even if you produce all of your electricity and don’t pay CUC a penny.. Plus none of the equipment will actually survive 25 years in your climate. You need industrial scale solar farms if you are really serious.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So a guaranteed return approaching 4%, no wild energy price fluctuations, environmentally friendly, creator of high tech/skilled jobs, and all that even taking account of your figures and data. Sounds good to me. Tell us, how many decades do those diesel generators, above ground distribution lines, and oil storage tanks last?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Um, that’s not a 4% return. Getting just your investment back over 25 years is a big negative return. Guaranteed. Plus, the equipment will not last 25 years and the warranties are much shorter. That’s why you need industrial scale. Home systems are way too expensive in Cayman for the average person. Only the rich can afford the losses in order to feel good.

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      • Anonymous says:

        30-40 years

  13. Anonymous says:

    another consultant to tell ofreg what already exists in the country and have been said by James whittaker and company about solar this shows ofreg,and Greg Anderson has no clue what is going on in the country when it comes to solar energy another waste of money for the Cayman islands government and public funds.. when enough is enough….

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  14. Anonymous says:

    What a set of people love hire consultants. Any value for money? Have they applied anything at all that has been learned from any in the past?

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  15. NoReg says:

    Soon need a consultant to evaluate the report produced by these consultants.

    What a joke of an organization.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    This is like a script from “Yes Minister.” It is farcical. We are about to have a global economic downturn and local recession. We need to stop exporting as many dollars as possible to buy diesel. We are literally burning through money. Now is the time to be making plans for extensive solar arrays starting with the roofs of all government buildings and then transitioning to above car park structures (as can already be seen at Caledonian House) and to a lesser extent, at Camana Bay. God knows what will be left of our construction industry will need something to do! Make plans now and stop the bureaucratic waffle!

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  17. Anonymous says:

    ofreg…a perfect representation of the collusion, vested interests and protectionism that runs everything in cayman at high level.

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    • Say it aint so Joaimzee says:

      That is correct, including the largest on island retailer of photovoltaic technology.

  18. Anonymous says:

    What is OFREG good for???
    Ohh I forgot, wasting money on consultants
    And keeping government cronies employed.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Disgusting, isn’t it! I wonder if our Premier is aware that honest citizens don’t like the horrible waste of money for OfReg’s existence….?

  19. Anonymous says:

    How about some $1M contracts to study the value of Education, Health, having a runway at the airport etc?

    The only thing we don’t need to issue a contract for is to determine the value of OfReg.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    2 weeks ago OfReg was surprised to hear PACT was sticking to their unwavering policy on the adoption of green energy. Now they are pretending cost analysis studies and libraries of information don’t already exist online. How many recurring examples of ineptitude will the public tolerate at Ofreg? Do we need to commission that study?

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  21. Anonymous says:

    OfReg must be godly, or at least someone thinks they are. They did zilch for years and when they were found to be doing nothing, someone told them they were in danger of being liquidated.
    Hard to believe, ain’t it? I say “Poor Leadership”.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, if OfReg are this stupid, or are truly unwilling to open a web browser window and search out the libraries of economics studies available in public domain, then we need to close it down for good. The whole thing. Fire them all.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, and the ones that gave them carte blanche. It’s the leadership that drags The Cayman Islands downward, not upward!

  23. Anonymous says:

    The value of solar? Isn’t that fairly self-evident? These guys are unbelievable. Just continue to waste money and do nothing for all of us who pay for their useless office.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The value for solar is not the value to the person with the solar. It’s the value those without might reasonably be expected to pay for that solar energy.

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