The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities has announced its strategic five-year plan to make Belize completely energy-independent and to transform the country into a low-carbon economy by 2033.

The Ministry's medium-range plan, unveiled at a conference at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel last Thursday, is for Belize to become a net exporter of electricity by 2020, and a net exporter of bio-fuels by 2033.

To ensure Belize's smooth transition into a low-carbon environment, the ministry aims to improve energy efficiency and conservation across all sectors, triple the amount of modern energy carriers derived from waste material, and reduce the country's dependence on imported fuels by 50 per cent during the next eight years.

Dr. Colin Young, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Science and Technology, disclosed that the Ministry is managing two sustainable energy projects: one in Flowers Bank Village in the Belize District, where cohune oil is being tested as a bio-fuel. The other project is to enhance energy efficiency in buildings in Belize. This is to be accomplished through a US$1.2 million grant provided to Belize by Japan.

Consultants are expected to arrive in Belize later year to begin work on this project.

Since March this year, the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities has taken oversight of electricity and energy, including solar energy, gas, geology and petroleum research and development, public utilities and the Public Utilities Commission, among other duties.

Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega who is Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Minister of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities, Senator Joy Grant and Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber attended this benchmark meeting.

The Reporter