Features — 18 November 2015 — by Johnelle McKenzie
Energy Expo at the Biltmore

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Nov. 11, 2015–Today, the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) hosted an Energy Expo at the Belize Biltmore Plaza as a part of the CARICOM Energy Week which is being observed from November 8 to November 14, 2015 under the theme “Empowering Our Sustainable Development.”

Ryan Cobb of the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities said that the expo is to create awareness and educate the public about the energy sector and how Belize as a country uses energy.”

Some of the participants of the expo were Belize Electricity Company Limited (BECOL), Belize Natural Energy (BNE), ProSolar Engineering, Transport Department and the Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

The ProSolar Engineering provides electrification by means of solar power. Steve Bol, a technician of ProSolar, said “The Company has been in existence for five years and it is a renewable energy firm specializing in the design, development and implementation of solar, wind and micro-hydro power systems.” If you happen to live in a bungalow home, it would cost a onetime investment of $14,995 USD to electrify the home.

Gilbert Canton, Jr., an engineer of BNE, said BNE produces oil and gas and is located in Spanish Lookout. Canton explained that the oil comes with an associated gas which is put through a distillation process then a refrigeration process in order to become a liquid. Once it has become a liquid, it is sent to a fractionating column, where different products are extracted, such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG) which is sold in Belize.

Canton said presently, BNE produces 1,500 barrels a day, which is too small to develop a refinery in Belize to produce our own gas for sale at the pump. Canton added that a typical refinery produces about 500,000 barrels a day, and since we are not producing that amount as yet, it would not be feasible to open a refinery.

These new technologies are a bit more expensive than traditional technologies, but it is a good investment, Cobb said. Cobb gave a shower head, water heater as an example; a typical shower head, water heater is $60, meanwhile, a solar shower, water heater is $1,000; however, in three years the electricity you spend on the shower head, water heater will cost more than the cost of a solar water heater, he said.

It was obvious that even though the new technologies are being embraced, the traditional technologies are still essential to our way of life. Cobb explained that it is very difficult to provide the amount of electricity the country needs on just solar, and where solar technology is not available, the more traditional ones such as BECOL hydro company can be used.

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