Independent legislator Winston Connolly is calling on government to establish a national energy policy that sets a target of 100 percent renewables by 2035.
Mr. Connolly told the Cayman Compass the territory was “woefully behind” the rest of the region in its efforts to convert to clean energy.
He has filed a private members’ motion to be debated at the next session of the Legislative Assembly, which also calls for a target of 20 percent of vehicles on Cayman’s roads being electric or hybrid by 2020.
Leading by example
More immediately, he would like to see government lead by example, by covering the roof and parking lot of the Government Administration Building with solar panels.
Government held a series of meetings and formulated a draft energy policy in 2012 with the far more conservative target of 13.5 percent renewables by 2030. The draft policy was never finalized.
Mr. Connolly acknowledged his suggested targets were ambitious but said they can be achieved with “real political will.”
“I am not under any illusion that the government has to take this on,” he said. “If I raise the issue and we have a debate and people see merit in the proposals then people will be educated and empowered to start forcing the issue themselves.”
The independent George Town legislator, who recently attended the International Parliamentary Conference on Sustainability, Energy and Development in London, said it was increasingly clear that the Cayman Islands was lagging behind the rest of the world.
He said he had been in consultation with the Cayman Renewable Energy Association and the Caribbean Utilities Company and believes that more can be achieved, even with current technology.
He believes a focus on renewable energy policies and business development would help the economy, create jobs and open up access to international funding.
Included on a 12-point list of recommendations with Mr. Connolly’s motion is a call for Cayman to join the 10-island challenge, organized by the Carbon War Room, which offers logistic and technical support to Caribbean islands seeking to convert to clean energy.
Aruba, which is part of the ten-island challenge, currently derives 20 percent of its energy from wind and has several solar projects in the pipeline. The country, with a population of 107,000, is aiming to become the first country to transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
Mr. Connolly said the Aruba project is an example of what can be achieved when sustainable energy becomes a key focus for leaders.
He said it was not just a matter of cutting carbon emissions to meet global targets, he believes increasing renewable energy would bolster Cayman’s economy and increase energy security, as well as bringing down power prices in the long term.