Cayman explores energy policy

An energy policy for the Cayman Islands being drafted by the Ministry of District Administration, Planning, Agriculture and Housing, along with the newly appointed National Energy Policy Committee, should be ready to be tabled before Cabinet in February 2012.

The goal of the policy, according to officials in the Ministry, is to ensure security, reliability and affordability of energy supplies in the Cayman Islands, as well as to reduce the Islands’ carbon footprint and diversify power sources.

No formal energy policy exists in the Cayman Islands.

“The challenges associated with oil reliability, affordability and security, as well as the environmental impact are all major concerns facing our relatively small country. As a government, we must address them; we feel a clear national plan to manage the energy sector is needed going forward, hence the appointment and remit of this committee,” said Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Minister for District Administration.

During Finance Committee in June, she told the legislative assembly the policy was being formulated and indicated the undertaking was still in the research and development stages.

Tristan Hydes, acting assistant permanent secretary in the Ministry, explained the process and time-frame involved with creating the policy.

“There is an 18-month window since the start of the process and when it will be tabled. It is envisioned that the plan will be a 20-year endeavour, with a life-span from 2012 to 2032.” He said the energy policy would be reviewed every four years and would cover areas such as electricity, water, gasoline, transportation, propane, construction, land use and the environment.

“An energy policy is a collection and consolidation of Government policies in the energy sectors in a single document. Energy is needed for numerous activities such as electricity, transportation, water supply. These activities are important parameters to the development and sustainable growth of the economy. The Government recognizes the importance of energy and is attempting to formulate a plan/framework that will address the Islands energy security, consumption, development, production, environmental effects,” according to a statement from the Ministry of District Administration.

When asked about the probability of whether an energy policy could affect issues such as competition as it relates to deregulation in the electricity industry, Ministry officials indicated that this was a matter that has been addressed by the Electricity Regulatory Authority’s laws, which already stipulate that if ever the need for power in the Cayman Islands exceeds Caribbean Utilities Company’s capacity to generate, then the provision of that further supply would have to be tendered.

Those tasked with formulating the new energy policy for the Cayman Islands are Chairman Cline Glidden; Deputy Chairman Darrel Rankine; Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks; Mr. James Tibbetts (Chamber of Commerce); Mr. Richard Hew (CUC); Mr. Jonathan Tibbetts (Cayman Brac Power & Light); Mrs. Gina Ebanks-Petrie (Department of Environment); Mr. Bentley Vaughan (Department of Environmental Health); Mr. Robert Lewis (Planning Department); Mr. Gary McTaggart (Petroleum Inspectorate); Mr. Adolphus Laidlow (Economics & Statistics Office); Mrs. Sherri Bodden-Cowan (Legal Fraternity); Mr. Tristan Hydes (DAWLA); NEPC Secretary Philip Thomas (Electricity Regulatory Authority), and Deputy Secretary Louis Boucher (ERA).

“This is a policy that is timely in examining how we can reduce our dependency on fossil fuel and it is conducive with global environmental trends in seeking ways and means to decrease atmospheric pollutants. The challenges are many, but we need to be proactive rather than reactive,” 
Mr. Glidden said.

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