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Aug 4, 2022

Energy Stakeholders Meet to Update National Energy Policy

After twelve years, stakeholders within the energy sector have come together to review and update the National Energy Policy. Implemented in November of 2011, with the aim to put Belize on a path to energy efficiency, sustainability, and resilience up to 2040, the emergence of new and advanced renewable energy technology has prompted stakeholders to return to the table. Today, the first of several rounds of stakeholder consultations were held in Belize City. News Five’s Paul Lopez was there and filed the following report.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Energy, we use it in our daily lives to power our homes, our work places, our streets and even our vehicles. With such heavy reliance of energy, across the globe countries are looking to more renewable sources, like hydro, wind, and solar. In Belize, stakeholders of the energy sector met today to discuss improvements that can be made to the nation’s Energy Policy.  Jose Urbina, the C.E.O.\ in the Ministry of Public Utilities, shared on the objectives of this consultation process at the opening of today’s event.


Jose Urbina

Jose Urbina, C.E.O., Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy, Logistics & E-Governance

“A well designed energy policy reduces pollution; cuts customer cost and minimizes dependency on foreign energy supplies. Energy cross cuts our lives in every shape and form, reason why the energy policy needs to be holistic. As we look into the near future, we speak about e-mobility, distribution generations, micro-grid and many other terms, with a government priority focused on reducing cost of power, while ensuring sustainability.”


Compared to other Caribbean countries, Belize is the least reliant on fossil fuel. However, over forty-four percent of the nation’s electricity is being generated in neighboring Mexico. The hope of the energy sector, based on the Belize Sustainable Energy Road Map, is to reduce the country’s reliance on imported electricity to twelve percent by 2040, through investments in solar, wind, and biomass energy sources. Devon Gardner, the policy expert collaborating with the Energy Unit in this undertaking, spoke with reporters.


Devon Gardner

Dr. Devon Gardner, Policy Expert

“A big part of what of is emerging is the issue of how you deepen the amount of indigenous renewable energy options that are available to country, of course recognizing that some are more effective than others. But, all the countries, including Belize stakeholders seem to be very keen, especially as technologies improve for you to do so, to deepen the amount of renewable energy that are able to be accommodated in a practical way within the energy system. That is one thing. The other thing that is emerging as a constant theme, is something that is probably the most common but overlooked phenomenon in the region and Belize as a whole, how do we become more efficient, in the way we access and move and use energy. How is it that we can put in management, energy efficiency, and energy conservation measures that allow us to squeeze more U.S. dollars of G.D.P. of every single barrel of oil we use within our society.”


The argument here is that Belizeans generally consume energy in a manner that is inefficient. More efficient energy consumption across the country, through regulations, would allow for a greater return on the investment made by the Government of Belize. The transport sector is one such area where this shift is beginning to take effect across the Caribbean.


Dr. Devon Gardner

“Within the context of electrification in the transport sector, it is very important, because in the first instance what you will get is a significant amount of energy improvements because of the sheer change in technology. Electric vehicle technology is way more efficient in the way it is designed, in the kind of efficiency gains you have, it will be much higher compared to an internal combustion engine, because of the natural physics of the system.   The second issue is that, as you green your electric grid, as you put solar into your electric grid, as you put hydro into your electric grid, wind into your electric grid, and diversify your electric grid with green options, your transport sector that is plugged into that grid would benefit from that renewable energy input.”


The Belize Sustainable Energy Road Map finds that policy makers, including the ministers of government, C.E.O.s, and business leaders, must take a participatory role in seeing greater reliability, cost effectiveness, development, and social cohesion within the sector. Today’s engagement included thematic breakout sessions and group discussion to chart the way forward. Deon Kelly, the Energy Planner, spoke on the timeline


Deon Kelly

Deon Kelly, Energy Planner, Energy Unit

“We are seeking top level approval from within the government. So, we are creating a green paper, and that should be presented to the Prime Minister, and then we move on to another consultations with you guys the stakeholders, of course the initial policy drafts, and then another consultation, and then by the end of the year we should have this policy finalized with your support.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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