A comprehensive review and update of the regulatory framework governing the electricity sector is needed to create an enabling environment for a sustainable energy transition in the Turks and Caicos Islands, FortisTCI President and CEO Ruth Forbes has stated.
Speaking at the company’s first-ever Turks and Caicos Energy Forum held at the Shore Club on Thursday, October 21, Mrs. Forbes reassured all stakeholders that FortisTCI is committed to collaborating to create an energy future in the best interest of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The forum brought together a wide cross-section of local stakeholders, including government, businesses and FortisTCI customers to discuss ‘The Future of Energy in the Turks and Caicos Islands’. Citing the rapid changes taking place in the energy industry due to climate change and technological developments, Mrs. Forbes noted that if the Turks and Caicos Islands is not part of this energy transformation, “we risk being left behind."
Noting that regulatory discussions are ongoing with Turks and Caicos Islands Government, she emphasized that a modernized regulatory framework is necessary to meet changing customer demands, effectively integrate renewable energy and/or lower carbon fuel sources, and bring certainty, independence and transparency to the regulatory environment. She also announced that the company has earmarked over $40 million to be invested over the next five years in renewable energy, lower carbon fuel sources, and fleet transition to electric vehicles.
Calling for a national sustainability effort to tackle climate change and create a greener economy for the Turks and Caicos Islands, Mrs. Forbes stated, “We can and must embrace an energy future built on sustainability for our economy and planet. We have a unique opportunity to do so and to do it right. We recognize that there are no easy fixes, but I firmly believe that with collaboration and conviction, we can play our part in the global effort towards a more sustainable planet.”
Attending as the Forum's keynote speaker, President of the Caribbean Bank, Dr. Hyginus 'Gene' Leon, delivered his address on 'Advancing Economic Development in the Caribbean: The Role of Sustainable Energy.' His message was that a sustainable energy transition is one of the most important trans-generational responsibilities for the Caribbean.
"Sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy," said Dr. Leon. He noted that the Caribbean should focus on five critical priorities for a sustainable energy transition, namely improving energy efficiency, diversifying fuel sources, encouraging and incentivizing private sector investment, building strategic partnerships on a global scale to help achieve net-zero carbon emissions, and having in place flexible and affordable financing options to attract private capital.
Also bringing remarks was Acting Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams and Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands Honorable Charles Washington Misick. Both expressed the Government's commitment to advancing the changes in the energy sector and noted that work is currently underway to create the legal framework necessary to make the types of changes needed in the TCI.
Other guest speakers and industry experts provided their perspectives on the sector's transformation, touching on sustainability, clean energy initiatives, electrification of transportation, regulations, a plan for the TCI, and more. Representatives included Fortis Inc. President and CEO Dave Hutchens and LUCELEC Managing Director Trevor Louisy. There were also appearances by private and public sector officials from the United States, Bermuda, Cayman, Barbados, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
For those who could not join on Thursday, the full event is available for viewing on the FortisTCI YouTube page here. You can also visit www.tcienergyforum.com for more details on the conference and updates for 2022.