Strategy for Wind Power Generation in Trinidad and Tobago

CoA CoA

 

 

 

 

MINISTRY OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

 

 

 

SPEECH FOR THE HON MINISTER OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

 

THE HONOURABLE PENELOPE BECKLES

Workshop to Present the:

Strategy for Wind Power Generation in Trinidad and Tobago

 

Hyatt Regency Hotel

Wednesday 17th May, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.

 

Remarks

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

I stand before you today to speak to an issue that is already of critical importance and relevance in our quest for a sustainable future, which is developing and maximizing our renewable energy resources, in particular wind energy, and more specifically offshore wind energy. As we navigate the challenges posed by climate change and strive to transition to clean, renewable energy sources, understanding and harnessing the power of the wind becomes increasingly crucial.

Wind energy has emerged as a promising solution to meet our growing energy demands while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. The vast potential of wind resources in our offshore areas offers a unique opportunity to tap into a clean and virtually limitless source of power. However, to fully unlock this potential, we must undertake comprehensive and accurate wind resource assessments.

Wind resource assessments forms the bedrock of any successful wind energy project. It involves a meticulous examination of wind patterns, velocities, and turbulence characteristics to determine the energy yield and feasibility of a specific location. By gathering data on wind behavior, we can make informed decisions about the optimal placement, design, and operation of wind farms, and therefore, by extension, the investments required. These investments will not only accelerate the transition to a clean energy future but also create new job opportunities, spur economic growth, and enhance energy security. Furthermore, in respect of offshore wind, it has the potential to revitalize coastal communities, and transform them into hubs of renewable energy innovation and expertise.

By harnessing the full power of the wind, we can generate substantial amounts of clean energy, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and make significant strides in combatting climate change. As a mature oil province with diminishing resources, as well as the shifting world paradigm towards less fossil fuel based economies, we must take proactive steps to ensure our future energy security and maintaining our economic viability and competitiveness. Moreover, as Trinidad and Tobago also embarks on a trajectory for developing green hydrogen and decarbonizing our industrial sector, the potential for offshore wind energy becomes even more important in providing the requisite energy capacity to power green hydrogen, as well as decarbonizing our power generation.

As many of us would know, Trinidad & Tobago has a high per capita energy consumption of 5,911 kWh per capita when compared to the world average of 3,081 kWh per capita using a 2019 reference year. Nearly half of the households in T&T have a consumption level that is on par with the North American households and nearly three times the global average. T&T electricity generation is also almost solely dependent on natural gas, consuming approximately 8% of total natural gas produced in the country. Total GHG emissions in 2018 were estimated as 41 million metric tons CO2. These are compelling statistics, and reinforces the need to accelerate the energy transition.

Achieving an accurate wind resource assessment is a complex and multi-faceted process. It requires the deployment of advanced technologies, such as meteorological towers, floating LiDAR buoys, and satellite-based remote sensing. These tools allow us to collect data on wind speed, direction, and variability, as well as other crucial environmental factors. By analyzing this data over extended periods, we can establish reliable wind resource maps, which serve as the foundation for offshore wind project planning.

However, at the same time we must not underestimate the challenges that come with offshore wind resource assessment. The harsh marine environment, logistical complexities, and costs associated with data collection, as well as the required timeframe for data collection, can pose significant challenges. Addressing these challenges requires collaboration between industry, government, and research institutions, as well as continued advancements in technology and data analysis techniques.

Trinidad and Tobago was able to partner with the Delegation to access the EU funded Sustainable Energy 4 All programme which provided technical expertise in developing a Draft Strategy for Wind Energy Generation in Trinidad and Tobago. In the presentation to follow this morning, I am told that you will be presented with what can only be described as exciting and promising news for Trinidad and Tobago. Based on the information that will be presented, it seems promising that Trinidad and Tobago has the potential to harness electricity from the wind and quite possibly significant amounts as that. This is of course cautious optimism on my part because getting to that point will involve further studies and more tangible assessments that would attract investments, but we are definitely one step closer. On that note, I am told that officials from the EU Delegation are already partnering with their counterparts from the Ministries of Planning and Development, Energy and Energy Industries and the Ministry of Public Utilities to assist with the next steps.

I would be remiss if I didn’t make mention of our participation in the EU’s Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) project which has assisted us in achieving our international commitments, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), where we applied those resources specifically to increase the adoption of Solar Energy. Through this initiative we have already handed over 4 domestic scale rooftop solar installations with 8 more to come in the next few weeks and the first commercial scale ground mounted installation at the Piarco International Airport. However, the issue of securing licenses for these installations still pose a challenge, which we are addressing. We are therefore moving ahead in maximizing our renewable energy potential through these various initiatives.

I should therefore like to thank Amb. Peter Cavendish and the EU Delegation Office in Port of Spain for the continued collaboration in the area of sustainable energy.

Special thanks also to the consultants Mr. Stephen Badri and his team as well as the programme managers at Stantec, for the quality work that has been done. This lays the foundation to move on to the next steps that I have just identified and we look forward to what the future may bring.

In conclusion, wind resource assessment for wind energy is a vital undertaking that paves the way for a sustainable future. By harnessing the power of the wind, including in our oceans, we can diversify our energy mix, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and drive the transition to clean, renewable energy. Let us work together to unlock the immense potential of wind resources, ensuring a greener and brighter future for generations to come.

 

I thank you.