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.