PORT OF SPAIN — In the wake of Friday’s nationwide blackout, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine says the government will be looking towards alternative energy sources to help bolster local electricity supplies.
Speaking with reporters yesterday, Ramnarine said what the Good Friday blackout has shown “is the importance of diversifying away from fossil fuels”.
The minister made the statement while responding to reporters after high-level talks with executives from the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission, National Gas Company, Trinidad Generation Unlimited and Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd at the ministry’s Maska compound office, La Romaine.
He said three renewable energy projects were approved in the last budget for the Ministry of Energy.
“One was solar lighting on community centres, the other was installing solar photo-voltaic cells in schools and the third was resource assessment study,” he explained.
Ramnarine said the study was under way and would be in collaboration with the Green Fund and University of the West Indies.
“It is really to determine where are the areas in Trinidad to establish wind farms,” he said. “And without even a study, we know the best areas are Manzanilla and Mayaro. Lots of constant wind. That study will start shortly.”
The minister said powerful solar lights were installed at nine community centres. He said he was pleased to see that on the night of the blackout, lights of the surveillance bays, which are solar, were on.
Ramnarine said during the meeting it was recommended that all major intersections of Trinidad and Tobago have some sort of solar lighting to keep the traffic light system working to avoid accidents.
The minister said the root cause of the problem which led to the blackout “resides in the bypass valve system that is operated by Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd and the National Gas Company”. He said both companies have been mandated to examine that system with the view of upgrading that system to ensure that it never happens again.
Ramnarine stressed that “thus far there is no evidence of sabotage” in the blackout that left citizens in darkness in both Trinidad and Tobago for several hours.
He said: “No, it was not an attempted coup. Absolutely not. It was a mechanical issue. We would like to thank the national community for their patience. The community must be congratulated for showing their patience.”
Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, he said, will receive a comprehensive report on the blackout on Thursday. He explained that the companies involved have either completed their individual reports or are in the process of completing their reports. (Guardian)