Are Cayman’s renewable energy goals attainable? Q&A with Hon. Kurt Tibbetts

Kurt Tibbetts

New Energy Events spoke with Hon. Kurt Tibbetts, Minister of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure, and asked him whether he thought the target of 70% renewables in 20 years as outlined in the Cayman Islands National Energy Policy was realistic – and whether the utility, CUC, was onboard.

The Cayman Islands National Energy Policy specifies 70% renewables in 20 years. Do you believe this is feasible? What does the policy mean in terms of opportunities for international investment in renewables?

The National Energy Policy is a dynamic document. By that we mean the Government will adapt, monitor and review the energy landscape/or environment to ensure the Cayman Islands are taking advantage of the most viable and economical technology needed to meet the policy goals. This is supported by the provisions in the Policy to appoint a standing Energy Policy Council, which has the responsibility to keep the policy under review, assess our performance and to recommend amendments as necessary to keep the policy relevant. With that in mind, we believe that the goal is realistic and achievable as it anticipates that we will be able to take advantage of new technologies as they become viable.

Is CUC, the national utility, in lockstep with the Government and onboard with the terms and objectives of the policy?

CUC only generates and supplies electricity on Grand Cayman, CBP&L generates and transmits and distributes in the Sister Islands. CUC was an integral partner, as well as CBP&L of the NEP development process. They are very aware of, and have committed themselves to, the policy objectives.

Do you view Cayman’s bid for energy resilience as part of a bigger regional push? Can a regional approach to energy resilience accelerate the process?

Cayman’s energy resilience is a push to do what’s right for the environment. I believe a regional and global approach, as seen in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Accord (Climate Change 2016), represents a global approach which we are a part of as a UK dependent territory.

The Government has looked closely at waste-to-energy solutions in the past; is that back on the agenda?

The Government has to evaluate waste-to-energy, not in isolation of the overarching landfill solution and that is what our technical folks are doing.

Do you believe there is a role for CNG or LNG in the Cayman energy matrix?

CNG and LNG are truly transition fuels for the Cayman Islands and are much cleaner than the diesel and HFO fuels. However, the regulator and the Government will evaluate opportunities and the economics of these options to determine their appropriateness for the Cayman Islands

How will the national policy dictate the approach to transportation in Cayman? Can we expect, for example, to see a marked increase in the use of electric vehicles?

The Government will do its best to support the EV sector by keeping tariffs on importation low. The Government is also exploring opportunities to integrate EVs into its own fleet.

 

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  • Phillip Gordon

    The shock and surprise will come from residential homes and businesses
    roof top solar panels. I’m not sure if the Cayman Islands supports net-metering
    but they should. But it’s very clear that getting electric power from solar
    panels is far less expensive than diesel powered generators without the noise
    pollution. As an electrical engineer, global warming is a hoax and a fraud.

    The plans for the Cayman Islands, Hawaii, Gaum, and other Caribbean
    islands are 100% renewables by 2025. This is easily archivable with current off
    the shelf technologies. Simply by using the high electricity rates to finance
    solar and wind power without issuing bonds or encoring debt. Add 3 additional
    cents per a kilowatt-hour should by use for purchases of solar panels both
    onshore and offshore wind turbines. Keep in mind electric power from all solar
    panels both onshore and offshore wind turbines will offset fuel consumption
    from diesel power plants. With less fuel consumption use what you would have spent
    on diesel fuel on solar panels both onshore and offshore wind turbines. Soon you
    can cut that additional 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. When you reach 90% renewable
    electric power you cut your rates in half and continue until you reach 125%-150%
    renewable electric power. That additional 50% of renewable electric power are
    needed to reduce the need for electrical storage. To the naysayers of renewable
    electric power that you need great amount of Tesla Power Wall and Power Packs to
    achieve 100% reliable electric power this is greatly overstated.

    Designate landfills for solar panels and do an island wide
    wind survey both onshore and offshore. All utility scale solar panel plants and
    onshore wind turbines should require having 12 to 24 hours of backup electrical
    power for the first 50% market share from renewable electrical power. V2G
    electric cars will fill in the 50% to 150% rest of your backup power needs.

    For Homes Businesses and Government buildings. Mandatory all
    building Businesses and Government buildings and homes all must have solar
    panels on the roofs. Businesses and Government buildings parking lots mandatory
    solar panel parking lot canopies with V2G level 3 380-volt direct current power
    connection. Free parking for electric V2G electric cars only. Right now, only
    Tesla Motors Model S, Model X, Model III Nissan leaf are the only V2G electric
    cars that can be used as electrical storage. Other electric car manufacture’s
    will make V2G electric cars as energy storage soon. Tesla electric cars have
    energy storage of 60KWH to 100KWH. This is enough electrical storage for 2 to 4
    days for the home. The voltage can vary from 300 to 600 volts Direct Current.
    Make sure that the electrical contractor uses 300-600-volt DC input grid tie
    synchronized power inverters to single phase 120/240 volts 200-amp AC service
    for the home or 300-600-volt DC input grid tie synchronized power inverters
    triple phase 120/208 volts 600-amp AC service for the business. A 380-volt DC
    solar panel electrical wiring will future proof your solar power and wind power
    system. All new V2G electric cars manufactures are or have adopted the 380-volt
    DC international electrical standards. With a 380-volt DC, solar powered home
    or business you just made charging your electric cars 1000 times easier.
    Electric cars as energy storage, make sure you have a Direct Current power
    connections for your V2G electric cars for all solar power and wind power homes
    and businesses whether if you have an V2G electric cars or not.