‘THE FUTURE OF ENERGY IN THE TCI’

Full Speech Delivered by Premier Hon. Washington Misick at the FORTIS TCI Energy Forum


For the world to transition to low-carbon electricity, energy from these sources needs to be cheaper than electricity from fossil fuels.


Fossil fuels dominate the global power supply because until very recently electricity from fossil fuels was far cheaper than electricity from renewables. This has dramatically changed within the last decade.


In most places in the world power from new renewables is now cheaper than power from new fossil fuels.The fundamental driver of this change is that renewable energy technologies follow learning curves, which means that with each doubling of the cumulative installed capacity their price declines by the same fraction.


The price of electricity from fossil fuel sources however does not follow learning curves so that we should expect that the price difference between expensive fossil fuels and cheap renewables will become even larger in the future.


This is an argument for large investments into scaling up renewable technologies now. Increasing installed capacity has the extremely important positive consequence that it drives down the price and thereby makes renewable energy sources more attractive, earlier.


In the coming years most of the additional demand for new electricity will come from low- and middle-income countries; we have the opportunity now to ensure that much of the new power supply will be provided by low-carbon sources.


Falling energy prices also mean that the real income of people rises. Investments to scale up energy production with cheap electric power from renewable sources are therefore not only an opportunity to reduce emissions, but also to achieve more economic growth – particularly for the poorest places in the world.


In 2014 the TCI became a signatory to the 10 Island challenge. The mission of this challenge coordinated by Sir Richard Branson and co-sponsored by the Clinton Foundation, Rocky Mountain Institute and the Carbon War room stated aim was to accelerate the transition of Caribbean Island economies from fossil fuels to renewable energy.


The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) has developed in collaboration with Fortis TCI and the Rocky Mountain Institute a Resilient National Energy Transition Strategy (R-NETS), signaling its commitment to the integration of renewable energy sources into the power grid with the dual aim of reducing the cost of electricity and reducing negative environmental impact.


Fortis TCI has indicated as a strategic focus least-cost energy, continued reliability of service, with a goal of 33% renewable energy electricity generation by 2040, enhancing system resiliency, and the continued reduction in Co2 emissions. It has given no indication as to the impact this would have on current consumption rates, and it is no secret to Fortis that TCIG believes that the 33% target is not very ambitious.


It continues to be the view of TCIG as well that Fortis as the regulated monopoly supplier may be contributing to the current failure of the sector in as much as on the face of things it does not appear to be as open to potential alternative energy generating partners as TCIG would like to see.


This conversation with FORTIS TCI along with a better regulated environment in the interest of all stakeholders is ongoing.


The modernisation of the energy regulatory framework to suit the technological advances in renewable energy, while addressing the challenges and issues related to Climate Change is this Government’s priority.


In that vein TCIG is anticipating the passage of legislation as part of a comprehensive framework to regulate the alternate energy sub-sector before the end of the current fiscal year.


We are committed to providing tangible support to the sector in the interest of all stakeholders to ensure that electricity supply is reliable available, affordable and delivers a market return to investors.


In doing so it is open to a broad range of options including waste to energy as part of its overall strategy to remediate the serious environmental impact of indiscriminate waste disposal and to create a future focus on recycle and repurpose.


TCIG is therefore working with assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank to assess our waste management systems need and develop a strategy that could assist in the eradication of the country’s waste potentially converting its’ waste to energy.


The potential for growth within this sector is immense and this Government intends to foster smart investments that will harvest longevity and produce a more sustainable economy that will survive and thrive. It is therefore committed to achieving a rate of alternate energy use North of 50% before 2040.

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