Monday, February 8, 2010

NET METERING IN BELIZE - are you listening Belize UDP Cabinet?


In the U.S.A., as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, under Sec. 1251, all public electric utilities are now required to make available upon request net metering to their customers.[2]:

‘‘(11) NET METERING.—Each electric utility shall make available upon request net metering service to any electric consumer that the electric utility serves. For purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘net metering service’ means service to an electric consumer under which electric energy generated by that electric consumer from an eligible on-site generating facility and delivered to the local distribution facilities may be used to offset electric energy provided by the electric utility to the electric consumer during the applicable billing period.



We are seeing the advent of a small climate change cycle in the American continent and Caribbean.

Last year we had no hurricanes at all in the Western Caribbean. This winter, North America are having the deepest and most severe snow falls in a hundred years. This past winter, we have had below average rainfall in Belize.

While it is interesting to know why? More important is the ability to forecast the mini weather cycles and the effects on government policy to deal with it. Rather than the customary finger pointing, blame game, knee jerk reactions our government normally does.

The below average rainfall in Belize this past winter rainy season, forecasts an electricity shortage from our hydro electric dams. We will have to wait and see over the next four months, from now to June, to see if this forecast bears out TRUE or not. Belize is short of electric production anyway. We buy a lot from Mexico and now it is at ever increasing rates as the Mexicans renege on the price contracts for electricity delivery.

Over the foreseeable future, say the next 15 years, electrical problems if not tackled in a prompt and policy making manner are going to be compounded. Good political leadership would endeavor to prepare ourselves for this eventuality. Most of our problems will occur from population explosion. Everything is expected to double, from population, to the need for roads, schools, parks, bridges, and of course water, garbage and electricity.

It is probable that; net metering will never offset more than 10% of our electrical energy needs. It will however mitigate the effects of disasters which we experience frequently on a national scale. Those that provide some, or all of their electrical consumption and send the excess to the national grid will be blessed in the next three political terms. Already over the past ten years, we have succeeded in changing the political climate and have broken the BEL monopoly, to supply electricity, via the new BAGASSE fed waste at our one and only sugar mill to a new contributing 9 mgwatt generator system. One investor claiming to need an electrical generator to break the BEL monopoly for his shrimp farm operations is now contributing needed electricity to our National Grid as a commercial enterprise. Both of these systems were instigated by the RESEARCH and recommendation of far sighted Peter Singfield, an engineer of Xaibe village in the Corozal District and survivor of a Canadian economic depression in which he learned to be prepared for eventualities.

While net metering will never make up the expected shortfalls of electricity. We as a nation will need over the next fifteen years more electricity, and this can alleviate about 10% of the problem, if legislation is passed to favor this method of electrical production. It should be done and it should be done by this UDP government during their term of office, before they finish. Unlike the article printed on the Belize Development Trust reports ( report #40 of 2001 ) things have improved in the USA, as an example of states that have included net metering as a government legal policy. A lot of new knowledge and new modernized solid state transferable equipment, makes it very convenient to implement net metering in Belize today. It is time our government did something positive for the future electrical shortages we are expecting. Starting with increasing brownouts and blackouts expected during the next four months.

When Sir Francis Chichester at age 65 sailed around the world non-stop, he was asked by reporters when he arrived back at his starting point in England, if he had any disasters, emergencies, or adventures. He replied in annoyance to the crowd of media people "No!" When the clamoring media said it was not possible to sail around the world single handed at his age and not have something go wrong in a voyage taking over a year. His reply was; " disasters and emergencies only happen to people who do not plan properly!" Are you listening UDP CABINET?

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