Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Franklin Khan.

“Daunting but not insurmountable.”

This is how Energy Minister Franklin Khan has described the challenge currently facing this country when it comes to rebalancing our energy mix in the face of global climate change concerns.

Khan made the statement yesterday as he delivered the feature address at the first day of the T&T Energy Chamber’s 5th Annual Energy Efficiency and Renewables Conference 2021.

“We will seek opportunities to work with our stakeholders in our domestic energy sector to develop and implement solutions aimed at reducing our carbon footprint as part of our contribution to the reduction of global warming and in the rebalancing of the country’s energy mix.

“However, having said that, we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater. As a gas-based economy, we depend on the monetisation of natural gas to produce our major exports and foreign exchange earnings from LNG and Petrochemicals. For decades, 100 per cent of our electricity has been generated from natural gas, which continues to grow in prominence as a transition fuel, by virtue of it being the cleanest of fossil fuels. In this regard, Trinidad and Tobago has been a leader in the transition, having transformed the domestic energy sector from being oil-based to gas-based,” Khan stated.

Khan noted that CARICOM as a whole has set a target of renewable energy capacity of 28 per cent by 2022 and 47 per cent by 2027.

He said that countries in the region have been utilising their significant renewable energy resources, including biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, waste-to-energy, and wind in weaning their economies from fossils.

“Trinidad and Tobago currently lies at the median in relation to the progress made by countries in transitioning their energy systems. As a Small Island Developing State we are acutely aware of the effects of climate change on the environment and as an oil and gas exporter we are aware of our responsibility to mitigating the effects of global warming. It is with this recognition that the Government in its 2030 vision has placed the environment at the forefront of social and economic development and established short, medium- and long-term goals aimed at achieving a balance between the environment and social and economic development,” Khan stated.

Khan said the key to achieving our goals is first to understand the enormity of the undertaking so that the appropriate solutions can be devised.

He said therefore in order to ensure the accuracy of the data on emissions the government has developed a Mitigation, Reporting and Verification System which streamlines data protection with International Practice.

“The Environmental Management Authority is charged with the responsibility to validate the data before it is incorporated in the National Inventory. At this time reporting by companies on their emissions is voluntary but steps are being taken to make such reporting mandatory,” Khan said.

The Mitigation, Reporting and Verification System will provide an accurate account of emissions generated by industries in this country, Khan stated.

He said the Energy Ministry in collaboration with the University of the West Indies, the University of Trinidad and Tobago and Heritage Petroleum Company Limited has been pursuing a project aimed at the management of carbon dioxide emissions.

The aim of the project is to identify reservoirs with the potential for storage of carbon dioxide and for the stimulation of oil production, he stated.

“It is an herculean task. Regardless of which pathway the world follows, climate impacts will become more visible and severe over the coming years, increasing the pressure on all elements of society to find solutions. It is with this recognition that several countries have accelerated and or expanded their plans to lower their greenhouse gas emissions,” he stated.