SPEECH FOR THE HON MINISTER OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
THE HONOURABLE PENELOPE BECKLES
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.
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.
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 thank you.