Trinidad and Tobago could be seeking to position itself to benefit further from the transition to clean energy, particularly in the hydrogen economy.
The Prime Minister, at the virtual opening ceremony of the Energy Conference 2021, announced that research is already being done into the ramifications of developing a hydrogen economy in TT.
“Hydrogen along with carbon capture and storage will be catalysts for deep decarbonisation and hard-to-abate sectors as heavy industry,” Dr Rowley said.
“The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries has established a multidisciplinary committee to develop a hydrogen economy framework for TT.
“(The) committee should be presenting the preliminary report in the near future.”
Rowley said government, through the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries and the Ministry of Planning and Industry, secured funding for feasibility studies relating to hydrogen through an IDB-executed technical promotion of the Green Hydrogen Market in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Subsequent studies will be joined with the current study to get a full understanding of the pros and cons of producing green hydrogen locally.
TT currently uses the cleanest fossil fuel – natural gas – for power generation. The gas TT produces also benefits Canada, Spain and Canada. But Rowley said there is always room for improvement. He said different countries have different means of producing energy, some more environmentally friendly than others.
Recognising the effects of climate change on the region, despite its small contribution to the problem, he said the National Gas Company (NGC) has embarked on a rigourous campaign to reduce its own carbon footprint.
“Just last month the NGC announced that it has become a member of the United Nations Environmental Programme Oil and Gas Methane Partnership.”
He said NGC also partnered with a service provider based in the Netherlands which would provide them with satellite access to monitor methane emissions from above.
“I must commend the NGC for taking such definitive and proactive steps that will allow the company to generate tangible data sets, which can then be used in generating data-driven solutions to achieve our climate change targets.”
However, he noted that oil and gas are still much needed in today’s society. With natural gas still one of the cleaner fossil fuels, Rowley said it would remain as one of the better transition fuels as the world moves toward clean energy.
“The GECF Global Gas Outlook projects that natural gas demand is projected to rise by 50 per cent, from 3,950 billion cubic metres in 2019, to 5,920 billion cubic metres in 2050.
“Demand for natural gas is expected to be boosted by cumulative economic and population drivers, environmental concerns, positive policy support in many countries, and increasing availability of supply.”