CUC to pay more for clean power

Caribbean
Utilities Company will pay producers of alternative energy more for electricity
they generate under a revised energy buy-back scheme approved by the power
company and the electricity regulator.

People
who produce their own electricity with solar panels, small wind turbines or
other means will be paid 37 cents per kilowatt hour for the power they generate
and sell back to the CUC grid under the Consumer Owned Renewable Energy, known
as CORE, programme, compared to 20 cents per kilowatt hour as of February 1,
2011, under a previous arrangement.

The
new programme, which has been approved by Cabinet and made public on Wednesday,
16 February, consists of a Feed-in Tariffs structure.

CUC and the regulator say
the new structure, which came into effect on 1 February, will provide
“significant incentives to consumers who generate energy from renewable
sources”. Feed-In Tariffs systems are widely used in Europe and North America.

Managing
director of the Electricity Regulatory Authority, Philip Thomas, said: “The
development of renewable energy systems in the Cayman Islands for electrical
generation is critical to reducing our dependence on diesel fuel products, and
the [Feed-In Tariffs] programme is consistent with ERA policies and that of the
recently formed Government National Energy Policy Committee.”

The
programme will initially run as a pilot scheme for one year, ending in January
2012, or until a quota of one megawatt of capacity has been filled on a
first-come, first-served basis, a joint press release from CUC and the Electricity
Regulatory Authority stated.

Under
the new arrangement, the introductory rate will be 37 cents per kilowatt hour
for customers generating renewable energy that is fed to the CUC grid.

Once an
application is made to CUC, applicants should expect to be able to start
exporting energy to the grid within 30 days, subject to approval by the Central
Planning Authority.

CORE
customers will be billed monthly at the normal retail rate, which is currently
30 cents per kilowatt hour, for their total energy consumption and will be
credited monthly at the FIT rate of 37 cents per kilowatt hour for the
renewable generated energy sent to CUC’s grid.

Every three months, CUC will pay
those customers for any accumulated FIT credit balance on their account.

The
Feed-In Tariffs agreement contracts would last for 20 years to enable enough
time for renewable energy system owners to make a return on their capital
investment, according to the joint statement.

For
more on this story, check Thursday’s Caymanian Compass.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Ah, introductory rate… trial period and a cap.

    I have to ask, if anybody knows or has heard what does the rate change to after the introductory period has passed.