Reduce electricity wastage urges Le Hunte

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by: Geisha Kowlessar-Alonzo

Should T&T con­serve 10 per cent of the gas it cur­rent­ly us­es T&TEC would save TT$100 mil­lion per an­num.

And if that gas is sold on the in­ter­na­tion­al mar­ket, this coun­try could earn an ad­di­tion­al TT$200 mil­lion per an­num, amount­ing to a to­tal of TT$300 per an­num, said Pub­lic Util­i­ties Min­is­ter Robert Le Hunte who was speak­ing at the En­er­gy Cham­ber’s en­er­gy ef­fi­cien­cy and re­new­ables con­fer­ence held at the Hilton Ho­tel, on Mon­day.

In its third year, this year’s theme was “In­dus­try col­lab­o­ra­tion for a low car­bon fu­ture.”

Le Hunte said giv­en these fac­tors, the Gov­ern­ment is con­vinced that en­er­gy con­ser­va­tion is not on­ly the way, but it must be fa­cil­i­tat­ed and im­ple­ment­ed on a na­tion­al scale with some de­gree of ur­gency.

He not­ed T&T cul­ture is not one that places a high val­ue on con­ser­va­tion, es­pe­cial­ly ac­ces­si­ble and rel­a­tive­ly cheap re­sources like en­er­gy.

“We, as a peo­ple, are of­ten slow to adopt ac­tiv­i­ties that will serve the greater good sim­ply be­cause it is the right thing to do,” Le Hunte added.

He said an of­ten over­looked fact, how­ev­er, is that en­er­gy con­ser­va­tion and the re­duc­tion in green­house gas emis­sions, al­so has a di­rect im­pact on air qual­i­ty in a par­tic­u­lar ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion.

Pres­i­dent and CEO of the En­er­gy Cham­ber of T&T Dr Thack­wray Dri­ver who al­so spoke said T&T, like much of the Caribbean re­gion lags be­hind in en­er­gy ef­fi­cien­cy and re­new­ables.

How­ev­er, he said T&T, has the po­ten­tial to ad­vance quick­ly if the right pol­i­cy choic­es are made, not­ing there’s in­ter­est from both pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors in T&T and most im­por­tant­ly, from many or­di­nary cit­i­zens es­pe­cial­ly younger cit­i­zens.

Dri­ver not­ed that con­cerns about the im­pact of hu­man in­duced cli­mate change are a strong dri­ving force be­hind this in­ter­est.

“The dev­as­tat­ing hur­ri­canes we have seen in the Caribbean and last year’s flood­ing in Trinidad, have height­ened these con­cerns about cli­mate change.

“Glob­al­ly there has been a re­newed fo­cus on hu­man in­duced cli­mate change, with a new gen­er­a­tion of ac­tivists com­ing to the fore and ac­tivist stake­hold­ers de­mand­ing clear ac­tion to re­duce car­bon foot­prints,” Dri­ver added.

He said eco­nom­ics al­so led to in­creased in­ter­est in en­er­gy ef­fi­cien­cy and re­new­ables in T&T.

“The short­falls in gas pro­duc­tion that have char­ac­terised Trinidad over re­cent years have fo­cused both pol­i­cy­mak­ers and the in­dus­try on mak­ing the best use of our nat­ur­al gas. From ear­ly 1970s through about 2010, the sto­ry of the T&T gas in­dus­try was es­sen­tial­ly about cre­at­ing more and more de­mand to al­low the coun­try to mon­e­tise its nat­ur­al gas,” Dri­ver said.

He added with a high­ly suc­cess­ful em­pha­sis on “pump­ing up the vol­umes” T&T per­haps missed the im­por­tance of us­ing those nat­ur­al gas re­sources ef­fi­cient­ly.

In a gas con­strained set­ting, Dri­ver ad­vised that em­pha­sis be placed on the wise use of every mol­e­cule of nat­ur­al gas and fo­cus on max­imis­ing val­ue, rather than max­imis­ing vol­ume.

“That al­so means find­ing al­ter­na­tive ways to gen­er­ate the en­er­gy we need to run our econ­o­my, in ad­di­tion to burn­ing nat­ur­al gas, hence the dri­ve for both greater ef­fi­cien­cy and re­new­able pow­er,” Dri­ver added.

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