Page 9 - CARILEC CE Industry Journal_Oct_2019
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A New Era for

                                                            Energy Utilities

                                                                                                 - Catherine Morris

            The Caribbean’s utility landscape is shifting rapidly,   and then we have no clue how to meet those targets. We
            especially  for  the  region’s  energy  suppliers  who  are   believe that decisions should be more evidence based and
            feeling the pressure from environmental concerns,   data driven as opposed to simply philosophical positions.”
            juggling new innovations and incorporating  emerging
            tech. With a new era and new challenges, industry body   According to the CARILEC head, the answer lies in
            CARILEC is launching a strategic plan focused on    Integrated Resilient Resource Planning such as that seen
            cooperation and partnership that aims to transform the   in devising Saint Lucia’s National Energy Transition
            sector in a measured, responsive and realistic way.  Strategy (NETS), which was drawn up by the government
                                                                and LUCELEC with the support of the Rocky Mountain
            CARILEC recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and   Institute. NETS looks at how much renewable energies
            has seen a lot of activity in those three decades. “There   can contribute to the national grid and how this hybrid
            have been numerous changes in the sector — changes in   approach can be managed and  maintained. Dr  Bertin
            technology, legislation, consumer expectations, business,   sees it as a template for the region and an example of
            marketing and the environment,” says Dr Bertin. “That is   how partnerships between stakeholders can result in
            what led to this repositioning of CARILEC to better cope   solutions that work for all.
            with and anticipate these changes.”

            Nature has been one of the biggest change-makers with
            climate concerns now at the forefront of all policy
            discussions in the region. As Caribbean nations look to
            reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, the conversation has
            turned to renewable energy sources such as solar,
            geothermal and tidal, some of which have already been
            implemented across the islands. Dr Bertin is bullish on the
            prospects of renewable energy to help meet demand but
            says it will take time, and every island has its own unique
            set of considerations and concerns. “It is a mixed bag.
            There are different rates of penetration in terms of
            renewables as a result of many factors. Each jurisdiction
            has different opportunities. There is a common perception
            that because the sun is shining and the wind is blowing we
            can switch to renewables tomorrow. It is not that simple.
            “Transitioning is like turning a huge tanker in the middle
            of the ocean. It takes time. There has been some
            reluctance in the past to embrace some of those changes
            [but] over the last decade the issues of climate change
            and CO2 emissions have put the utilities in a place where
            they have no choice but to get on board in terms of
            repositioning and pivoting.”

            Dr Bertin is also wary of targets set by international bodies
            which  may  not align  with realities on the  ground. “We   CLETUS BERTIN Ph.D, originally from Saint Lucia, currently serving
            sometimes have a difficulty when policy makers set targets   as Executive Director of CARILEC, is overseeing the industry group’s
            almost arbitrarily, sitting in rooms far away from the region,   2018-2022 strategic vision and energy resilience in the Caribbean
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