The Need for Energy Sector Reform in the Caribbean
Like many island nations, the Eastern Caribbean states face some of the highest electricity prices in the world. The small scale of these often monopolistic electric systems, coupled with high reserve margins, a reliance on fossil fuels, and lack of regulatory oversight, has pushed prices as high as $0.40/kWh on some islands. At Platt’s 15th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference, Janine Migden-Ostrander addressed these concerns, stressing the need for effective integrated resource planning (IRP) and wholesale competition for power generation. IRP enables regulators, the utility, and interested stakeholders to take an in-depth look at the energy demands over the next 10 to 20 years and the resources that may be available to meet that demand reliably and at least cost. Strong IRP methods provide opportunity for the utility to diversify its generation portfolio, which in turn increases energy security and reduces fuel price volatility. Serious consideration of energy efficiency, demand response, and renewable energy resources is key to a successful IRP process. In addition to an in-depth look at these mechanisms, Ms. Migden-Ostrander also provides insight into establishing wholesale competition for generation of any additional resources.