Santo Domingo.- National Energy Commission (CNE) president Enrique Ramírez on Thursday announced “very surprising developments” for the country’s energy sector, with natural gas and coal generation and which in his view, “create a huge impact.
He said the power plants to be built in several parts of the country are designed to produce “especially cheap energy,” including from renewable sources.
He said the thrust for new plants shows the government’s concern and “the importance placed on the sector,” by president Danilo Medina. “We’re talking about US$1.05 billion, an impressive allocation for the first time this year.”
Ramirez also revealed investments in the electricity distributors, whose three directors he called “highly capable veterans” of the sector.
Ramírez, interviewed on Colorvision’s Hoy Mismo program, said the “surprising developments” in the construction of natural gas and coal fired plants will create a huge impact.
“Especially cheaper renewable energy will be generated by the second phase at the wind park at Los Cocos, Juancho, Pedernales, with 52 added to the current 33MW. That means 305,000 barrels of oil less, just from the wind,” the energy commissioner said, noting that it’s 75,000 megawatts added to the grid in just 24 months.
He said the wind park will generate an additional 200,000 kilowatt hours, while reducing CO2 less emissions by 60,000 tons
The official also announced the advance in the installation of a wind energy park at Matafongo, San Cristobal this year, financed by Spanish investors. “It will be an additional 80 megas, which translates to one million barrels of oil less."
“I expect the Monte Plata and Montecristi solar energy parks will be able to take off soon, they are now in the testing phase,” the official said.
Renewables at a major scale
“I wager on small producers, including homes, and small businesses, because in just one year, in all of Latin America, we have managed to obtain the highest number of customers with solar panels, from 112 kilowatts of installed capacity, to 1.8 MW now. They are on the roofs of houses,” Ramírez said.
He affirmed that 2013 will be the most productive year in renewable energies, making the country the leader in Latin America. “There are banks that finance solar panels, with the investment recovered in 4 to 5 years.”
He said customers are guaranteed 20 years of income after paying initial cost. ”You get energy practically for free, it’s the sun.”
When asked about the population’s lack of knowledge on renewable energies, Ramírez said the people should become more aware. “We are Latin America’s leader in solar panel imports per capita. “We are the country which has most advanced in that area and the most aware of what it means for competitiveness.”
He urged anyone who wants to install solar panels with a two-way meter to go to their distributor to get the needed installation and be able to sell excess energy.
He said around 60,000 adults and children were taught on energy savings in 2012, by NEC technicians that go to schools. “We aim to get one hour per week to teach people about saving energy in the schools.”
Non traditional renewables
He said the hydroelectrics currently produce up to 16 percent of the national output, and together with other renewables, the goal is 25% in seven years. “We aim to reach up to 9 percent with solar, but by 2020 we have to reach a total of 25% with renewables. We want renewable energy but cheap renewables.”
Light bill to stay put
Ramirez added that Medina doesn’t want increases on the light bill ”especially the middle and lower classes.”