Let me also extend a very warm welcome to everyone here and
online, who has joined us for this our first Turks and Caicos Energy
Today is indeed a momentous occasion for us at FortisTCI, and I
dare say for our islands. We view this Energy Forum as a place for
national engagement on our energy future. And I am very excited
to share this moment with all of you in this room and everyone who
has joined us virtually.
Today, I am going to talk to you about an energy future that can
be very different from where we are today – a more sustainable
energy future. A future where more of your electricity is produced
from renewable or lower-carbon sources. This can reduce energy
use and cut costs, over time. Let’s face it, the cost of energy is a
concern for all of us.
I will talk about an energy future where our energy security is more
in our hands, and less dependent on external sources. An energy
future where stakeholders are aligned for a common cause. And an
energy future that fuels our growing economy, and delivers the
same safe, reliable, efficient service that you are accustomed to.
All of this, ladies and gentlemen, is possible. But it requires change
from all of us. After all, energy touches all our lives. We could not
survive in the modern world without the electricity that powers our
homes and businesses. Energy is an economic builder and driver
and a necessary ingredient for our future growth and development.
As your energy partner, we recognize the necessary role we play in
building a sustainable Turks and Caicos. We believe that FortisTCI
operates a modern, efficient and resilient utility that delivers one of
the most reliable electricity services in the Caribbean. We believe
we are well-placed to meet the increasing energy demands from
you our stakeholders, as the economy expands.
But, the energy industry is changing – and shifting more rapidly
than we could ever anticipate. Globally, the energy sector has been
transitioning to a new business model, built on Decarbonization,
Decentralization, and Digitization, or the 3Ds.
This business model is in response to efforts to decarbonize the
global economy, transition energy from fossil fuels to renewable or
lower carbon energy sources, and create green jobs. The 3Ds
require a new approach.
They call for significant change in government policies and
regulations, in relationships between governments and utilities,
and partnerships with various stakeholders.
The shift in the energy industry is underpinned by CLIMATE
CHANGE. Global temperatures are rising and have been rising for
decades. We all face the impacts from rising sea levels, more air
pollution, and more frequent and devastating storms, flood, and
wildfires. Climate change demands attention and action from all
countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The energy industry
is a critical player in carbon-reduction and climate change
mitigation efforts. And there is evidence that alternative energy
sources are already having an impact on carbon emissions
I want to pause here to give you a bit of perspective on the rate of
change happening in the energy industry. Let us look for a moment
at the USA, which as you know is the source market for so much of
what drives our economy.
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which represents investor-owned
utilities in North America, has reported that 40% of all U.S. power
generation comes from carbon-free sources, including nuclear
hydropower and wind, and solar energy. Since 2010, more than half
of the new electricity generation capacity has been wind and solar.
This massive shift in power generation has been fueled by member
companies investing an average of over 120 billion dollars each
year to diversify the energy mix. In the process, they are making the
energy grid smarter, cleaner, more resilient, and secure, and
integrating new technologies that benefit customers.
The net effect is a significant reduction in carbon emissions (some
40% less than 2005 levels), which the energy sector has achieved
while maintaining reliable service to customers.
Ladies and gentlemen, the shift in the energy industry is not going
to happen. It is happening. And let us understand one thing – if we
are not part of this energy transformation, we risk being left behind.
I dare say that customer demands are also contributing to the
industry changes. Many of you in this very room understand this
very well. I know because we speak to you about our renewable
energy programs. Some of you have helped us achieve over 1.6MW
of solar on the grid through our Utility Owned Renewable Energy
Just as customer demands are changing, investors are also shifting
focus. We know that ESG, or Environmental, Social, and Governance
investing, has been gaining ground over the past five years, led by
investors who want to align their investments with socially and
environmentally responsible, well-governed enterprises. Without
meaningful sustainability commitments, companies and countries
like ours could find ourselves locked out of competitive financing
Ladies and gentlemen, there can be no business as usual in the
energy industry. Our energy future is not on some distant horizon
to which we can march slowly. The energy future is here; it is NOW.
It is about electricity produced from renewable sources such as
solar, wind, biomass, and lower carbon sources like natural gas,
among others. It’s about having a diversified energy mix to reduce
environmental impact, cut carbon emissions, and contribute to a
The energy future is about electric vehicles and charging stations.
It is about innovation and technology to deliver the electricity we
need in new ways to fuel our economy. The energy future is about
finding the right mix to provide least-cost, reliable electricity in an
environmentally sustainable way.
The energy future is about PEOPLE – stakeholders like you who
want to do your part for a more sustainable world. And for us, it’s
about the employees who will be at the heart of our energy
transition. They require new skills sets, new training, and additional
access to technology to equip them for a changing energy industry.
Ladies and gentlemen, we can and must embrace an energy future
built on sustainability for our economy and the planet. We have a
unique opportunity to do so and to do it right.
So today, I issue a call-to-action for a national sustainability effort
for these islands – an approach to tackle climate change and
transition us to a greener economy than we have today. We
recognize that there are no easy fixes here; but I firmly believe that
with collaboration and conviction, we can play our part in the global
effort towards a more sustainable planet.
A modernized regulatory framework is, without doubt, a
prerequisite to transform the energy sector. A new regulatory
framework will enable us to meet changing customer demands.
And it will bring certainty, independence, and transparency to the
I want to end with an assurance that FortisTCI is committed to
investing over 40 million dollars in renewable energy and lower
carbon fuel sources over the next five years. I want to close by
reiterating our commitment to partner with you to create an energy
future in the best interest of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
I hope you will see this Forum as a platform for more meaningful
conversations and collaboration around our energy future. Let’s
make this Forum the place where we commit to act, and act quickly
for our energy future and the future of our islands. I look forward
to the partnerships we will develop and strengthen here at this
Forum and beyond.