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Renewable Energy or Nah?

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

So my friends the million-dollar question being asked by everyone is, “Why didn’t we invest in renewable energy yet?

To be fair, that is a very valid question and it shows that our population at least cares about being sustainable. However, there are many determining factors which contributes to the successful implementation of renewable energy in Trinidad and Tobago. Honestly, we have real things to see if we really want that to work. We start from scratch here, so stay tuned…

What is Renewable Energy?

As the name suggests, this is energy derived from renewable sources, which essentially means it won’t run out. Examples of renewable sources of energy include:

  • solar,

  • wind,

  • geothermal,

  • hydro

  • tidal.

These are the total opposite of oil and gas which are non-renewable resources, that would eventually run out one day.

Why should we transition to Renewable Energy?

Every. Single. Dayyyyyyy y’all complaining, “Oh goshhhhhh!!! Why the place so hottttt??” Y’all ever wonder why? The surface temperature of the earth is now on the rise thanks to this lil pest called climate change (any Trump supporters, please skip to the next section)…

Yea so back to business…CLIMATE CHANGE!!! When we burn fossil fuels (in our case oil and gas), we release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases form a layer around the earth, trapping rays from the sun (Ultra Violet rays) and heat, therefore warming the surface of the earth since the heat cannot escape.

*Football reference alert*: In other words fellas, this greenhouse gas layer is basically Bonucci…nothing is getting past it and everything is trapped under it.

I’m pretty sure you understand now So now that we established that M1 was telling the truth and we really hot on the inside…Climate change not only causes high temperatures, but it also causes harsh weather systems (like massive hurricanes), melting of the polar ice caps, coral bleaching, and rising sea levels, which would cause flo-e-o-e-ods on not only the main roads *cues Ataklan*

Natural Gas can be used as reserves or further down in the downstream sector

So if let’s say now, we use renewable energy sources for power generation instead of Natural Gas…wouldn’t we have extra NG to use in other places?

That Natural Gas can be used as reserves, or they can be used in the downstream sector (refer to previous blog post to refresh yourself on what the downstream sector is). Currently there is a shortage of natural gas in the downstream sector, which can be solved by…you guessed it!!!!


Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

Yes, yes…I know you’re thinking “What she really talking about here now?!” Allow me to elaborate. An INDC identifies the actions a national government intends to take under the Paris Agreement agreed in December 2015 at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21). INDCs are, therefore, the basis of post-2020 global emissions reduction commitments included in the climate agreement. Yes, I know it’s a lot to read, so please read slow… Trinidad and Tobago’s INDCs include:

  1. reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by the year 2030

  2. by 2021, 10% of the energy generated must come from renewable energy sources

As clearly stated above, based on our INDCs, it is imperative that we start investing in renewable energy, as a nation. So if all this bacchanal happening to the world, why not invest in renewable energy sources right?

What is preventing us from using Renewable Energy in Trinidad and Tobago?

First and foremost….IT’S ILLEGAL!!!
It is illegal in Trinidad and Tobago to put power back onto the grid, which means if you invest in renewable energy, you have to be completely off T & TEC’s electricity grid. To do that is a whole other set of dramas. You need special permission to be off the grid, so that’s real paperwork (which Trinbagonians not too fond of) and You’d have to store or the energy harnessed and lemme tell you, something people, it is REALLY expensive to do.
Price of Power

As indicated in the first blog post, the price of power in Trinidad and Tobago is one of THE cheapest in the WESTERN HEMISPHERE!!! Let’s be real here…If you paying next to nothing for electricity, you really going to spend money to invest in solar panels and thing for your house? After all, Trinis LOVE cheap prices. You could really blame us though?!

Public Awareness

In Trinidad and Tobago, there isn’t much information available on renewable energy. This lack of info results in the public being uninterested and closed to the idea of using renewable energy in their homes and business places.

Financial incentives….

As you may have guessed, it may be a bit costly to initially implement renewable energy. The start-up costs are a big deterrent for domestic use aka using it in your house. In the grander scheme of things, most companies in the energy sector find it hard to invest in renewable energy because plain talk, bad manners…have very little in it for them. There are not many profits in it for them. This is a huge no-no to them. In a perfect world, we would hope they would care more about clean energy than money…but c'monwe here to keep it real.

So what should we do?

1. Change legislation

  • T&TEC Act: to allow power to be put back onto the grid

  • Feed-In Tariffs: a payment made to households or businesses generating their own electricity using methods that do not contribute to the depletion of natural resources

  • Net-metering: a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid

2. Offer tax breaks and other financial incentives

  • By sweetening the deal, more companies would be encouraged to invest in renewable energy

3. Educate the public 

4. Reduce the subsidy on electricity

  • By reducing the subsidy on electricity, citizens would now have to pay more for electricity in the country. By doing this, the government eliminates wastage, as well as motivates the population to find cheaper alternatives to the electricity being provided. Since renewable energy is cheaper in the long run it will be their next choice.

So after I just preached about renewable energy, from both perspectives…

I pose this question to you: “Renewable Energy or Nah?

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