The CORE programme which was revised and approved by the regulator in 2012 has gained popularity with both residential and commercial customers. The programme has allowed customers to connect small scale solar systems or wind turbines to CUC’s distribution system and to reduce their monthly energy bills by generating their own electricity while remaining connected to the CUC grid. It should be noted that the programme is subsidised by the non-CORE customers, as the rate paid to CORE customers for their electricity production, is higher than the cost CUC would normally incur and charge to customers for the same energy. In January 2020, the grid reached its projected variable renewable energy capacity. This meant no additional applications for CORE could be considered due to their potential to negatively impact the grid and by extension, consumers. In May 2020, the Cayman Islands Government issued a policy directive for the re-allocation of 700 kilowatts (“kW”) of the 1-megawatt (“MW”) Consumer Owned Renewable Energy (“CORE”) capacity, which had previously been allocated to the Cayman Islands Government. Ministry provided the allocation in early May and within a week, residential applications received exceeded the 500kW allocation. In February 2021, OfReg issued a draft determination to reallocate 500kW from the DER programme to the CORE programme. In August 2021, OfReg issued its final determination to allocation 3MW of distributed generation to the CORE and DER programmes. Once the utility scale battery is installed, new programmes may be established for the provision of distributed generation.
An Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) was prepared in 2017 to cover the period from 2017 – 2045. The purpose of the IRP is to provide a roadmap for future resource decisions for CUC, covering issues around transitioning the generation portfolio from a largely fossil based to a renewable dominated portfolio, need for natural gas, and value of storage, and baseload renewable generation technologies. There are a few differences between the goals in the IRP and the NEP. This should be taken into consideration with the 5-year review of the NEP. The IRP is due to be reviewed soon.
An assessment of land on Grand Cayman, (raw land, man modified land and quarries) was conducted with the Department of Environment, Department of Planning, the Energy Policy Coordinator and OfReg. Crown land and private parcels have been identified as suitable for utility scale solar. The Ministry responsible for Lands was consulted and approximately 190 acres of Crown land may be available to reserve. Final assessments are currently being done.
On January 27 2021, OfReg issued a draft determination to approve the renewable energy auction scheme as the best way to encourage and procure investment regarding renewable energy in the jurisdiction. It is anticipated that an annual capacity of 25MWs generated from utility-scale solar be added to the grid from 2021-2023; 20MWs in 2024, 20MW in 2029 and 2030; a capacity of 20MWs generated from energy storage be added to the grid in 2022, and another 40MWs in 2030. OfReg approved a 20MW utility scale battery installation for CUC. This will enable CUC to store renewable energy for backup power. The battery will reduce the need to bring generators online and therefore reduce the amount of fuel required. It should reduce diesel consumption by 6% and also CO2 emissions by 8% and cut bills for CUC customers. The available capacity for Distributed Generation programmes will be increased by an additional 12MW. The battery is due to be installed by the end of 2022.
This is covered in the licenses. Solicitations for firm or non-firm power will be conducted by OfReg in an open and transparent manner that will allow interested parties to bid on projects.
A Value-for-Solar study has been initiated and should be completed in 2022.
OfReg approved a 20MW utility scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) for CUC which will enable CUC to store renewable energy for backup power. The battery will reduce the need to bring generators online and therefore reduce the amount of fuel required. It should reduce diesel consumption by 6% and also CO2 emissions by 8% and cut bills for CUC customers. The available capacity for the Distributed Energy Resources programme will be increased by an additional 12MW. CUC is near conclusion of negotiations with the preferred BESS bidder to finalise the contract. It is anticipated that due to supply chain disruption the 20MW battery will not be commissioned until the end of 2022. Once the battery is installed, new distributed RE programme will be established.
• This is being done in conjunction with a framework for soliciting RE.
• The price paid for utility scale renewable energy will be from a competitive process.
• Other rates for roof top programmes such as DER are to be based on the utility’s avoided cost of energy.
See 184.108.40.206 - OfReg granted approval for CUC to install a 20MW battery. New distributed RE programme to be considered after installation. The base rates for the provision of solar on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, are still being determined by OfReg. OfReg further states that energy efficiency measures, solar water heaters and natural gas would be a better fit for the sister islands and discussion is needed for the transition period.
The tariff rate has been reduced for several items related to the installation of renewable energy and for electric vehicles and bicycles.
The provision of funding and loans for renewable energy has been listed a priority in the Strategic Policy Statement for 2022-2024.
• Legislation needs to be amended to transfer some of the Electricity Law and Regulations responsibilities from OfReg to the Department of Planning.
• The Department of Planning was asked to review the suitability of a permit notification vs an application process for small residential solar.
The Department of Planning raised the following concerns: What makes the solar installation sector different from any other trade in the building industry that would allow a for notification process vs an application process? Why not do that for all trades, allow them to just start work whenever they are ready and just notify the depart ment. What has been identified as the current issue with the application process, once identified we can consider ways to address the issue. I understand that from a business point of view that a notification process vs an application process is beneficial but is that a consideration in the best interest of the life and safety of the public. If this was done for the PV sector how long will it take for the Contractors Association and other sectors in the industry to request the same?
The Department has made adjustments and will continue to ad just the application review process to facilitate a quicker turnaround time.
• In July 2020, the Department of Planning posted a set of requirements for the submission of permit applications on their website.
A request for quotes (RFQ) was issued for an organisation to carry out a research project that would assess the impact of the Doppler radar on wind farms. Two quotes were received. However this has been suspended pending the CIAA investigation into a new radar system for air traffic control.
This is covered in CUC’s Transmission & Distribution Licence and Cayman Brac Power and Lights Transmission & Distribution Licence and in the OfReg (ERA) Capital Investment Plan Rules, 2012. Solicitations for firm or non firm power will be conducted by OfReg in an open and transparent manner that will allow interested parties to bid on generating capacity projects.
This process is well on the way as demonstrated by the following:
① Demand rates implemented for Large Commercial
② Demand rates imposed for all DER customers
③ Time of Use rates implemented for EV charging
④ Other rates and programmes still under review
⑤ RFP issued for Value for Solar study (VOSS). The study is expected to be completed in Q1 2022 and the results will be used as a regulatory policy tool for future distributed generation tariff setting.
CUC has installed smart meters on all properties that opted for these meters and customers can track their energy usage via the CUC website.
Approximately 190 acres of man-modified Crown land have been identified as potentially suitable for utility scale solar, without the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Usage of these sites can potentially accelerate the deployment of solar PV farms and thus assist in achieving the NEP goals in the desired timeframe. This strategy duplicates 220.127.116.11.