Belize switching gears to low carbon economy by 2013

Earlier we told you that Belize was among the least competitive countries globally. It is also highly dependent on imported fuel. This morning, the Minister of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities, Joy Grant, made a major presentation on the national energy policy that seeks to transition Belize to a low carbon economy by next year. Belize imported three hundred and thirty nine million dollars of fossil fuels in 2011. Aside from working towards fuel supply and importation arrangements that are more favorable, the Ministry is seeking to run a number of pilot projects for the use of renewable and cost-effective forms of energy. News Five’s Andrea Polanco attended the launch at the Biltmore this morning.

Senator Joy Grant, Minister, Ministry of EST&PU

“Belize uses fossil fuels for sixty five percent of its energy needs. The country imported eighty-eight percent of its fossil fuel needs at a cost of three hundred and thirty nine million dollars in 2011. This represents ten percent of GDP and eleven percent of total imports. The transport sector uses most of the fossil fuels.”

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

For those reasons, Senator Joy Grant, Minister of the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology says that it is imperative that we find alternative ways of cost effective, renewable, energy.

 

Joy Grant

Senator Joy Grant

“As a matter of urgency, we must undertake a comprehensive review of the sector to address the issues of efficiencies, as well as assisting in the identification of appropriate bio-fuels which can be a substitute for fossil fuels. Reducing our dependence on imported fuel, will increase our energy security and make our economy less vulnerable to oil price volatility.”

And so the Ministry of Energy rolled out a strategic plan to tackle these problems. It hopes to achieve its goals by 2033.  Some of the points target the tourism and household sectors, through environmentally sound energy alternatives.

Colin Young

Dr. Colin Young, C.E.O., Ministry of EST&PU

“We want to reduce consumption of electricity by fifty percent over this same period from six million to about half of that and this is primarily in cooling and lighting service in public sector buildings. The last goal in this strategy that we want to look at is to the do the same for households, another large user for energy. What we wanna do here, for example, beside doing all the assessments and so on, is to establish a pilot voluntary exchange lighting program, where we will work with the B.E.L., as the largest distributor of electricity; where for example, they will be able to purchase these efficient lighting for consumers who want to become a part of the program and the cost of it be placed on the monthly electricity bills. The second strategy here is focused on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. We want to fast track pilot projects to convert bio mass waste to produce over two hundred and fifty thousand tonnes of bio fuels by 2016. We want to do the same for households, in this case we want to reduce the number of households that are using firewood to utilize alternative sources of energy, bio fuels again. We know all the health impacts that goes along with that, so we want to implement pilot projects in terms of using plant oils and solar cookers in communities.”

Key note speaker for the launch was Dr. Cardinal Wade, Professor of Electrical Engineering, MIT and Member of the Prime Minister’s Council of Advisors. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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