Cheaper energy cost in the making?

Grenada’s Electricity Supply Act has been successfully passed in Parliament and the first step in its enactment is discussions with WRB Enterprises on the way forward for the generation of electricity throughout the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

The legislation which was passed in the Upper House about two weeks ago, enables government to start the process aimed at reducing the cost of electricity throughout the country.

The new bill ends the 80 year monopoly which was enjoyed by the island’s sole electricity company GRENLEC and introduces competition in the area of renewables.

Speaking at a post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministerial Complex, Leader of the Government Business in the Senate, Simon Stiell said the bill does not exclude GRENLEC as the company would still have the opportunity to generate diesel electricity.

“Within this legislation both the Electricity Supply Act and the Regulatory Commission Act, it makes full provision for the operations of GRENLEC. So this isn’t at their exclusion. They are provided for within the act for them to continue with their operations so all be it within the new regulatory framework, that brings fairness, that is reasonable and it also does not exclude GRENLEC from competing with these other new areas of renewable,” he said.

Sen. Stiell added that GRENLEC will have the opportunity to bid and tender for the supply of renewable energy, if they choose to.

According to the Junior Minister, the main aim of this initiative by government is to ensure that all Grenadians can afford to provide renewable energy for their personal use.

“The legislation also arouses for or enables the legitimate self generation of electricity whether (it) is businesses whether (it) is home owners and all of this is in keeping with regional and international best practice,” he told reporters.

Sen. Stiell stated that the second step of the process is the establishment of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission to ensure that there is a technical and economic focused body to oversee the process and the establishment of an advisory body to provide technical expertise to the government.

This, he said has already been started with the optimal energy mix that is appropriate for Grenada’s current and future development.

“When I talk about the energy mix, we have an abundance of renewable energy. So it is to understand how this all fits in with what currently exist”, he added.

“(We have) 99% of electricity … generated from the current diesel plant. (We have to look at) what is that ideal mix – linking into the current demands and also future demands and part of that will tie into the work that’s taking place with the 2030 Sustainable National Development Strategy which looks at all of those productive sectors over the next 15 years to see where that demand is coming”, he said.

According to Sen. Stiell, the aim of the new bill is to give better prediction to electricity demands and to help influence the strategy “as we move forward with the introduction of new power providers”

He stated that once the ideal energy mix is understood, the next step would be for government to go out and tender for independent power producers.

“So understanding where the demand is, understanding where the needs are – those renewable energy providers are able to provide utility scale electricity to the grid”, he said.

“…The next area is understanding how we move forward with self generation…for businesses, for homeowners to produce electricity for their own consumption and the feedback of their success to the national grid…”, he added.

The Junior Minister encouraged persons and businesses that are financially able to take advantage of the renewable opportunities that are available now.

“We can see some returns from self generation for businesses that have the financial capability to purchase and install systems that enable them to take advantage of renewables that they can start that now.

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