Features — 16 July 2013 — by Adele Ramos
Private sector urged to pioneer renewable energy projects

The bulk of Belize’s renewable energy comes from hydropower, but the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU), along with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), will soon be inviting proposals from the private sector, calling on them to submit proposals for innovative renewable energy projects for Belize.

Speaking with journalists at a private sector forum the ministry held in Corozal Town on Thursday, Minister Joy Grant, under whose portfolio energy falls, said that, “By the end of this month, or very shortly thereafter, the PUC – the Public Utilities Commission – with the ministry and BEL [the Belize Electricity Limited] will be asking for proposals, 50 megawatts of what we call reliable energy and then some 17-20 for renewables.”

Grant said that this is a great opportunity for the private sector, with whom they were having their third such meeting, to participate.

“If for nothing else, everybody wants their light bill to go down, and we are saying if we go to a larger percentage of our energy needs [being met] from renewables, we could guarantee that the rate will go down,” she said.

She said that once projects are approved, licenses will have to be obtained and funding obtained before things get off the ground. However, she said this would be a major step forward for Belize, and she said that the time has come for “some very concrete actions…”

“We haven’t done this for many, many years, so to show that we are not only having this symposium, we heard what the private sector had to say and now we are going to them and we are saying to them, you have the opportunity to get into this business,” the minister urged.

She noted, though, that laws may need to be revised to facilitate the developments. Excited about the prospects, the minister saw Thursday’s meeting as an important means of helping the private sector to more greatly appreciate the importance of energy and the need to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

(Amandala thanks KREM News for assisting us with this report.)

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