Alternative energy for schools
The Government is moving full speed ahead to crack down on illegal bunkering, as well as to harness wind and solar energy to power 24 schools and 15 community centres across the country. This was revealed by Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine as he launched the installation of renewable energy technology at the Islamic Home for Children in Gasparillo on Friday. Ramnarine said a committee established by his ministry will report to him within one month for the implementation of the dye for subsidised fuel.
Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs Kevin Ramnarine and chairman of PowerGen Indarjit Singh unveil the plaque during the launch of First Grid-Tied Renewable Energy System and Refurbishment of the library at the Islamic Home for Children in Gasparillo on Friday. Also in this photo is Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Marlene Coudray, right, and chairman of the Islamic Home for Children Imran Khan. Photo: Rishi Ragoonath
“The fuel subsidy for the first nine months of the year by the Government is $3.2 billion and the Government will be looking at ways to reduce that fuel subsidy including CNG in the near future. With regard to the theft of diesel, we have generated at the ministry a terms of reference for a committee to advise the Energy Minister on the implementation and introduction of a dye for subsidised diesel. This committee would be required to report to the Minister within one month of the appointment—that appointment being Monday,” Ramnarine revealed.
Saying that the Government’s thrust was to make T&T a cleaner, greener, now carbon country, Ramnarine said it was imperative that alternative energy be embraced. He explained that the National Energy Corporation (NEC) had been mandated to install solar water stills and solar photovoltaic panels for 24 schools and photovoltaic external lighting at 15 community centres. This will be beneficial because there will be an increase in T&T’s foreign exchange, Ramnarine added.
“About 20 per cent of the oil we find in the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery is used domestically, what is not used is exported. If, therefore, we use less at home there will be more to export and thus we can earn more foreign exchange,” Ramnarine said. He added: “Less than ten per cent of our natural gas that we produce on a daily basis is used to generate power. If we reduce that number through conservation, and through the implementation of renewable energy technologies, we would have more natural gas to export.
Ramnarine lamented that T&T was recognised globally as one of the most energy inefficient countries of the world. “We must realise that the most energy efficient countries are among the richest in the world so we must move in the direction of becoming energy efficient,” Ramnarine said. He noted that the Government was considering developing a wind farm along the east coast.
“We are currently conducting a Wind Resource Assessment Programme (WRAP) to map out the optimal points where we can establish a wind farm in the east coast. We are also going to sensitise people in our renewable energy community campaign,” Ramnarine added. He noted that citizens currently enjoyed the benefits of a fuel subsidy which made electricity eight to ten times cheaper than what is paid in other Caribbean countries.
However, because of the consequences of global climate change, Ramnarine said it is important for the Government to find ways to utilise alternative energy. Describing the threat of climate change as being very real, especially for all small island economies like those in the Caribbean, he noted it makes such countries vulnerable to potential adverse climate change events.
Source: T&T Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2012-08-13/alternative-energy-schools)