Carbon Footprint Reduction Of Trinidad And Tobago

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In Trinidad and Tobago, the oil and gas industry contributes to approximately 46% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) (The U.S. Department of State, 2008). In recent times however, reserves of this commodity have been on the decline.

In the last five years, there has been a steady decline of the total number of barrels of oil generated, with the difference approximating at 42,000 less barrels from 2006 to 2010 (Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs, Consolidated Monthly Bulletins, 2006 - 2010). In addition to lower production of oil generated, the price per barrel of oil and gas has also been fluctuating since 2008, moving from a high of approximately $130 USD per barrel, sinking to as low as approximately $30 USD (Inflation In order to meet the nation's energy needs, as well as to stabilize the economy at present and for the future, it is paramount that the government of Trinidad and Tobago considers the use of alternative energy sources.Trinidad and Tobago has been signatories to the Kyoto Protocol ever since January 1999.

Although as a developing country we are not mandated to meet any emission reduction targets, it is generally accepted that Trinidad and Tobago must play a role with its global partners in mitigating with the climate change threat (Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs, Energy Policies 2010).Trinidad and Tobago was excluded from the 2010 Global Renewable Energy Status Report as a country that would be implementing policies and programmes on renewable energy. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago offered incentives to individuals and businesses to develop alternative sources of energy, according to the Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs, Mrs. Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan. According to the Minster, fiscal measures taken in the 2010-2011 National Budget through the form of capital subsidies, investments and other tax credits, sales taxes, energy taxes and value added taxes (VAT) reductions, should help promote the use of renewable energy in Trinidad and Tobago.

The measures being put in place, she said:would facilitate the development of the home energy self-sufficiency programme in which individual households will be allowed to invest in small-scale wind turbines and photovoltaic (PV) systems, thus generating their own renewable energy to store power on the grid in times of surplus production and to take from the grid in times of need. This we intend to implement over the next 12 months in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) and the Ministry of Public Utilities as a pilot project in the first instance," she said adding that in the 2011/2012 fiscal year the government would institute incentives to promote renewable energy at the individual and commercial levels (Extract from Javeed, A. (2010, October 26).With all the various factors listed, a renewable energy action plan is indeed needed for Trinidad and Tobago. This research proposal aims to clearly identify the best suited renewable energy forms for Trinidad and Tobago, and its assimilation into the economy and everyday use for the citizens.1.1 Research Objectives:To identify the current sources of renewable energy in Trinidad and Tobago, and how much it contributes to the total energy consumedTo identify the different forms of renewable energy sources availableTo identify the most suitable renewable energy sources for Trinidad and TobagoTo conduct a Cost Benefit analysis of the implementation of the various sources of renewable energy to Trinidad and TobagoTo formulate a renewable energy policy for Trinidad and Tobago1.2 Research Statement:Investigating the feasibility of a framework for the implementation of an Action Plan for the use of Renewable Energy in Trinidad and Tobago

2.0 Literature Review:

Increased resources for Research and Development on alternative non-fossil energy sources, as well as on efficient and sustainable use of energy, particularly electricity, are necessary. In order to develop a sustainable energy system beyond the fossil fuel era, a full system analysis of the energy sector based on realistic time scales is needed (The Energy Committee at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 2010).According to the World Energy Outlook by the International Energy Agency (IEA, 2008), global trends in energy supply and consumption are unsustainable. They believe that in order to limit the usage of fossil fuels as the major supplier of energy, drastic measures would need to take place.

As such, sources like nuclear power, hydro-power, solar energy, biofuels, wind power and carbon capture would need to be exploited in order to significantly reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuel burning.As with the utilization of an alternative, many considerations need to take place before the system can be fully integrated into everyday usage. In the case of using biofuels as a source of energy, much research has taken place, and according to the Outlook, biofuels has the potential to produce approximately 35, 000 TWh per year if residues from the agricultural and forestry sectors are utilized. In general, food crops would be given first priority in feeding people and animals as opposed to being used as a fuel source.Energy from moving water was determined to have the greatest potential in developing countries. Most developed countries have already maximized their hydro-power potential, and the energy generated can range between 9, 500 - 16, 500 TWh of energy per year.

There are however, many ecological, legal, safety and policy constraints that limit the full exploitation of this as an energy source.Solar energy has the greatest potential for producing energy, especially with the use of hybrid technology such as Concentrating Solar Power but would be most feasible in areas with a large amount of direct sunlight produced daily, that is, a desert area. The utilization of photovoltaic and heating panels are expected to increase in homes, shopping centres and the corporate world if the necessary economic support is given.The article, "Energy resources and their utilization in a 40-year perspective up to 2050", provides great insight, especially from a scientific point of view, into the various means of renewable energy, and gives a thorough analysis of each energy source, and its implementation. The article however seems to not take the present global financial status of many countries into consideration.

The report was done in Sweden, and written for its country, and as such some of the applications may not be very practical or suitable to Trinidad and Tobago.The Energy Committee at the Royal Swedish Academy of Science believes that a reasonable target to see major changes in the energy sector can only happen in the year 2050. However, a 40 year time period to experience the usage of alternative energy supplies may be far too long a period to wait in some countries, where energy consumption is quite high, and the effects of climate change may happen within this period. In the article titled "Time for Plan B: Cutting Carbon Emissions 80% by 2020" written by Brown L. et al of the Earth Policy Institute, they show the many simple changes that could be made by any government that would aid in carbon reduction, as well as the implementation of renewable energy sources in any country.

The article does not neglect the challenges that may be faced when implementing the various sources of renewable energy, however, the means by which the article suggests it can be done is quite applicable to Trinidad and Tobago.The article titled "Global Gaps in Clean Energy Research Development and Demonstration" gives great insight into the cost of implementing the various forms of renewable energy to specific countries. Although the article focuses on the member countries of the International Energy Agency, the information on costing can still be applied to Trinidad and Tobago.Of all the articles read, it was noted that none of the articles mentioned the possible opportunities that can be obtained through the use of algae as a form of biofuel. Biofuels were mainly outlined in all articles to include, charcoal, ethanol produced from corn and sugar cane.

There has been decades long research into the feasibility of algae as a viable form of a biofuel, however, it seems as if even though it can regenerate itself quite rapidly, the cost and space to implement this form of biofuel is extremely costly and does not generate the output of energy other forms of biofuels can. The intent of utilising alternative energy sources are to not only move away from the dependence on the dwindling supplies of crude oil, but also to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions generated for energy consumption. In this regard, algae do not seem quite attractive as well. The position paper written by Dr.

John Benemann titled "Opportunities and Challenges in Algae Biofuel Production" gives a good insight into the viability of such an energy source. It was deduced that given more time, this biofuel will have a significant role to play in the coming years."Kicking the fossil habit" written by Julie Green, adds another dimension to addressing the renewable energy issue. This paper outlines the use of wooden pellets as a source of fossil fuel for heating. The pellets are made from sawdust; a waste product of the lumber industry, as well as it uses the resins from the wood to bind the pellets together. This source of energy can be implemented into several industries in Trinidad and Tobago.

In the process for cement manufacture, for instance, heat is required for several steps to make the cement. The equipment can be installed to produce the heat needed using the pellets in replacement of natural gas or oil. Although the purchasing of the boiler represents an expensive investment by any industry, it has the ability to reduce the company's expenditure on oil and gas. The use of the pellets represents cutting edge green technology, as the pellets are considered to be carbon neutral. A tree generates just as much carbon as it absorbs from the atmosphere.

The system has the ability to displace almost 600,000 litres of fuel oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,554 tonnes in its first year of operation (Green, 2008). Although the article is short, it gives the reader a good sense of the benefits, and even some disadvantages of the use of wooden pellets as a source of fuel. It also provides the reader with guidance into the possibilities for further research, by providing examples of organizations that utilize this source of energy.

3.0 Methodology:

3.1 Research methods:The main research method that will be utilized would constitute a vast exploration of secondary sources through the use of case studies, and using the pertinent information from these, to make judgements as to which renewable energy type would be the most suitable to Trinidad and Tobago. Further to this, primary data would be processed in the form of a Cost-Benefit Analysis. Analysis of this would further validate or negate the use of one renewable energy source over the other.3.2 Research Design:The research design that will be utilized is the Case Study design.

The case study design gives evidence of real life scenarios where the proposed utilization of the renewable energy source was either successful or a failure. It is expected that similarities between the countries under which the case study was conducted and Trinidad and Tobago would give insight into whether the use of one or many renewable energy sources would be feasible or not.3.3 Data Collection:The majority of data collected is expected to be qualitative data, through the use of case studies. However, quantitative data would be generated as well in the form of the Cost-Benefit Analysis.

4.0 Timeline:

5.0 Chapter Outline:

Executive SummaryAcknowledgementsChapter 1: IntroductionChapter 2: Literature ReviewChapter 3: MethodologyResearch DesignResearch MethodsData CollectionChapter 4: ResultsChapter 5: Data AnalysisChapter 6: Cost-Benefit AnalysisChapter 7: DiscussionFinal Action PlanConclusionReferencesAppendices

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