The NURC held a public consultation on renewable energy pricing and capacity limits
Lead: The National Utilities Regulatory Commission held a consultation on renewable energy pricing and capacity limit as Saint Lucia advances efforts to meet its nationally determined goal of 35% renewable energy penetration by 2025.
The National Utilities Regulatory Commission (NURC) is committed to renewable energy adoption in Saint Lucia particularly with the volatility of fossil fuel costs owing to the Russia/Ukraine conflict. On Thursday 6th April the NURC held a public Consultation on renewable energy pricing and capacity limits bringing stakeholders from the private and public sectors together with NGOs and Civil Society organisations.
Chairman of the NURC, Lawrence Nervais, stated that the NURC is resolute in Saint Lucia achieving its nationally determined commitment of 35% renewable energy penetration by 2025.
“We recognize that the transition to incorporating more renewable energy in the generation mix and the participation of nontraditional generators including customer-generators and independent power producers will only be fully realized if important issues relating to renewable energy pricing and capacity limits are addressed. For this reason, the NURC decided to undertake studies for capacity limits and establishing rates of renewable energy for Saint Lucia. Mindful of our resource constraints we approached several multilateral and governmental institutions including the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and CARICOM through the technical assistance programme for sustainable energy in the Caribbean (TAPSEC) for assistance.”
The NURC falls under the portfolio of Hon. Stephenson King, Senior Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Transport, Physical Development, and Urban Renewal. The consultation he said is expected to pave the way for the creation of a framework where the prosumer and the utility can coexist in a form of symbiosis.
“The inclusion of indigenous renewable energy sources for the generation of electricity creates the opportunity to lessen this dependence and allow for an electricity mix that offers a measure of cost reduction while moving closer to the goal of energy independence. The National Energy Transition Strategy (NETS) presents the roadmap leading to energy independence while achieving a service that is affordable to the lowest of income earners and a reliable electricity service through an energy mix of wind and solar with geothermal, when found viable, as a firm base supplemented by diesel.”
Kristin Deason, the Caribbean Representative for the Global Green Growth Institute commended Saint Lucia for its ambitious goals related to climate change in particular the nationally determined goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector by 7% by 2030.
“I don’t think anyone here will disagree with me on having the right policy and regulatory frameworks in place to facilitate this transition to renewable energy. This is what creates the structure that incentives utilities, private companies, governments, and investors to invest in and install renewables by making it easy, low risk, and financially attractive to do so and ensuring that the adoption of renewable energy will happen in an orderly and economically technical stable manner. I know the NURC has been working very hard on advancing the regulatory framework for the county and on developing their capacity to be able to meet their mandate and we’ve been fortunate to be able to help support them on this journey.”
The consultation focused on determining the optimum capacity limits for Solar PV generation which is currently set at 5KW for residential and 25KW for commercial customers. Chief Executive Officer at the NURC, Allison Jean said the second element relates to price methodology for renewable energy as the current net metering method is unsustainable and does not take into account the maintenance cost of the grid.
“The comments from our stakeholders will be submitted to the government of Saint Lucia or possible incorporation into the impending electricity legislation. We’re hoping that this legislation can be enacted very, very soon so that we can see a greater injection of renewable energy onto our electric grid.”
Senior Energy Regulatory Analyst at GGGI, Andrew Lewis, facilitated the consultation. He has been working closely with the NURC for the past year and a half on capacity building and technical support on various aspects of renewable energy regulations.