With a focus on building a sustainable, reliable, and least-cost energy future that takes into consideration the full scope of generating and delivering electricity in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Government (TCIG) alongside Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and FortisTCI Limited have partnered to develop the Turks and Caicos Islands Resilient National Energy Transition Strategy (R-NETS). RMI is facilitating this initiative and held a kick-off meeting with all participants on Thursday, September 13, 2018, to discuss and agree on the project timeline and objectives.
As technology continues to drive change in the electric utility industry at a rapid pace, the transition toward a smarter energy grid, with more renewable energy and energy efficient options, will require a systematic approach to new developments. The R-NETS is intended to ensure that all stakeholder needs – including customers, the government and the utility – are met as changes are implemented. The R-NETS will also identify specific roles for TCIG, FortisTCI, developers, financial institutions, and local communities that will enable this transition toward a more sustainable energy future. Other objectives of the process include exploring viable options for producing and distributing electricity to customers across the Turks and Caicos Islands, identifying the appropriate mix of energy sources needed to meet short and long-term consumer energy needs, and ensuring that TCIG objectives are aligned with that of the electricity sector.
The R-NETS process has three phases and takes a highly collaborative approach. Phase one takes a fact-based approach and identifies the traditional and renewable energy options available for TCI, along with current costs, projected future costs, and other risk factors. Phase two takes into account the technical and financial implications and seeks to narrow the potential least-cost options further to meet the energy needs of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Phase three of the process will see the production of an R-NETS report and implementation plan. This report, also referred to as an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), details the technical and economic concerns of the chosen future path and any implications on customer rates, reliability, environmental sustainability and resiliency of the plan.
“We are pleased to partner with FortisTCI and the TCI Government to advance important national interests in the electricity sector. This inclusive process invites all stakeholders to have a seat at the table and work toward selecting resilient and cost-effective technology solutions, in support of advancing the shared priorities of the TCI," said Roy Torbert, principal at RMI.
Minister of Infrastructure, Housing and Planning Hon. Goldray Ewing said, “this is a pivotal moment for the Turks and Caicos Islands energy sector, since this undertaking will chart the course and establish our energy landscape for the short, medium and long term. This collaborative engagement could not have occurred at a more opportune time, given Cabinet’s recent approval for the drafting of legislation for the implementation of integrated resource planning for the sector. This of course will allow for more rigid regulatory oversight and involvement in the development of the electricity sector, in alignment with the objectives of least cost generation, reliability, and environmental and economic sustainability of the sector.”
FortisTCI President & CEO Eddinton Powell said, “FortisTCI is fully committed to the R-NETS process and is looking forward to collaborating with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Rocky Mountain Institute in further developing the electricity sector in these islands. Creating a joint strategy is the right approach and serves as the first step toward modernizing the electricity sector and expanding the energy mix in ways that are beneficial to all stakeholders. This will strengthen and grow our economy.”
Public consultation meetings will be held at the Gustavus Lightbourne Sports Complex on the 3rd of October in Providenciales and at the H.J. Robinson High School Auditorium in Grand Turk on the 4th of October. RMI will lead both meetings scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. All interested persons are encouraged to attend to learn more about the R-NETS process and expected outcomes.