The Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities this morning held its Strategic Plan Launch at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel on the Northern Highway. The 2012-2017 Strategic Plan contains a summary of strategies which the ministry plans to execute in order to streamline, manage and integrated related activities and programmes. As such the Ministry intends to develop a structure that will aid in moving the energy sector and the economy toward low carbon development and also a plan that among many things will invest and support Science, Technology and innovation. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Energy Science and Technology and Public Utilities, Dr. Colin Young, presented the strategy at this morning’s ceremony.
DR. COLIN YOUNG
Chief Executive Officer
Ministry of Energy Science and Technology
“This is not the situation that Belize alone finds itself in. We have one of the highest energy prices in the world and so do the countries in Central America and the Caribbean. This obviously has many effects that ripple through our economy and constraints our economic growth. It’s one of the major contributors to our high debt to GDP ratio which is about 85% and we all know the effects of the global volatility of oil price and the effects that that has at home and of course, climate change even though we are very small emitters of green house gases globally, the use of fossil fuels is the single largest cause of global warming. 65% of all of our energy are from fossil fuels; we import 88% of that 65% to meet our needs and therein lies our dependence on fossil fuels. Transport is the largest single user of energy and we are using primarily diesel and gasoline to supply that industry. What this says to us as a Ministry is that if we want to wean ourselves off fossil fuels then we have to look at renewable energy options to provide bio-fuels to decrease our dependency on fossil fuels. We also notice that residential and industrial sources of energy are also large uses and as a result the strategies I will discuss with you today will actually present goals and objectives that will allow us to wean our dependence off fossil fuels in these sectors as well.”
The Keynote Address was delivered by Barbadian Professor of Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Member of the Prime Minister’s Council of Senior Advisors in Barbados, Dr. Cardinal Warde. Warde emphasized that education is an important key for global competitiveness. This afternoon Warde presented a Lecture on the Potential impact of Science, Technology, Math and Engineering-Based Entrepreneurship on Economic Development in the Region. The Ministry’s Strategic Plan looks to position Belize to be globally competitive in vital markets, however during her address, Minister Joy Grant mentioned that Belize ranks 123 out of 144 globally. In speaking with Love News she outlined some options Belize might have in using cheaper forms of energy.
HONORABLE JOY GRANT
Minister of Energy
“We look to the industries we have right now and I‘ll just use a few examples – citrus industry and of course, sugar but we have the waste material right now for us to use that for our fuels. You will know, in some countries they are now using those fuels in their vehicles and there is no reason why we can’t do that; we will just have to make a few changes but we’re already along the road, we’re half way there; it’s just now for us to have the private sector come in.”
Grant also commented on the possibility of Belize using bio-fuel
HONORABLE JOY GRANT
Minister of Energy
“We get the vehicles from the US because we can afford them, they are cheaper, etc. but when you move to these new higher tech vehicles, they are more expensive. So, looking at that it is very clear that there is a role for the government to play whereby we will have to put incentives initially, to have people change and in time we could make those incentives go away; but also, Belize – we have lots of land and so there is no reason why we cannot use bio-fuels – there is absolutely no reason but it will take some time; it will not happen in the next two or three years but as our plan states we would like to see a large proportion of the vehicles now on the road change to using bio-fuels in the next five years.”
According to the ministry, the success of the Strategic Plan requires collaboration and partnerships with government ministries, the private sector, business entities, educational institutions, social partners and other stakeholders. Other speakers in today’s ceremony included Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Gaspar Vega, and Program Coordinator for the International Energy Technology and Management at Vaasa University for Applied Sciences, Dr. Adebayo Agbejule who presented a case study on the Role of Energy, Science and Technology in Accelerating National Development, and Energy Director for MESTPU, Ambrose Tillett. A Roundtable Science Discussion will be held tomorrow with University Students at the UB Auditorium in Belmopan.<< Read other news