Support to the implementation of Trinidad and Tobago's Nationally Determined Contribution

At a glance

2020-01-01 to 2023-12-31
Active programmes
Trinidad And Tobago
Total budget
4,00 M€

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) is a twin-island state located in the southern part of the Lesser Antillesin the Caribbean. T&T has an estimated population of 1.37 million inhabitants, with a growing rate of 0.3% peryear. The majority (96%) of the population lives in Trinidad which is the largest island having a land area of 4,827km². The total land area of T&T adds up to 5,127 km².

With a Human Development Index (HDI) as high as 0.78 (and 65th position on the HDI country ranking) 2, T&Tis one of the most prosperous countries in the Caribbean region. The island largely owes this favourable position toits oil and natural gas reserves. Within the region, T&T is the leading producer of oil and gas and its economy ismainly based on these two resources.

The oil and gas sector accounts for about 18.8%3 of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 80% of export income,4 though less than 5%5 of employment.  Due to falling energy prices, the sector’s contribution to the GDP has significantly diminished over the last period from 44.8% in 2011 to 18.8% in2016.

The country’s economy is characterised as a “dual economy” with the energy sector being wealthy and well advanced while the rest of the economy is lagging behind. Further, T&T belongs to the group of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with the attendant constraints of limited technological, technical, financial and human resources and a relatively small-scale economy.

The above facts and trends suggest an unmistakable level of economic vulnerability, inspite of the country’s high position on the HDI ranking.

As a SIDS, T&T is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change (CC), particularly to sea level rise affecting coastal habitats and to changing rainfall patterns causing increased flooding and hill erosion.

Though T&T is not located within the main Atlantic Hurricane Belt, the country, and particularly Tobago, has been experiencing an increased frequency and intensity of tropical storms since climate change was recognised as a global phenomenon.

T&T is a Non-Annex I Party to the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and a signatory to the Paris Agreement (ratification: February 2018).

The Country participates actively in the UNFCCC negotiations and submitted already in 2015 its intended Nationally Determined Contribution (iNDC) to the global fight against CC, which turned with the recent ratification of the Paris Agreement into a genuine Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
4,000,000.00 €

Objectifs spécifiques

The specific objectives are (1) to increase the availability and use of energy from renewable sources; and (2) to increase the efficiency levels in the consumption of energy.


By completion of the project, a significant amount of solar energy systems will have been installed: small scale systems in public utilities and remote communities and a larger scale solar park with an annual generation capacity of 1,443,830 kWh at the Piarco International Airport. As a consequence, the proportion of energy produced by renewable sources in T&T will have increased. Moreover, the installed systems will serve as demonstrations tothe public in general and it can be realistically expected that they will be instrumental in a further and faster uptake of solar power systems. Also, the other envisaged outputs of the action, notably an increased awareness on the benefits of EE and RE, a corresponding behavioural change, and the operationalisation of new incentivising regulations, procedures and policy measures, are expected to accelerate the further uptake of renewable energy systems. 
This programme is relevant for the Agenda 2030. It contributes primarily to the progressive achievement of SDG Goal 13 on Climate Action, but also promotes progress towards Goals 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy, 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production and 9 on Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. This does not imply acommitment by the country benefiting from this programme.


The installation of a large-scale solar panel system at Piarco International Airport

This activity builds on preparatory work carried out by the ICAO-EU Joint Assistance Project “Capacity Building forCO2 Mitigation from International Aviation”. Under that project, a draft feasibility study on the use of renewableenergy at Piarco IA has been recently prepared on which this proposal is based. The study is directly linked to T&T’sNDC Implementation Plan, specifically to action E.3.12. Develop and implement a pilot macro-installation projectfor PV solar at Piarco International Airport.

Airports provide a good potential for the mitigation of GHG emissions as significant emissions can be avoided byeliminating Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) power and replacing it with solar energy when the aircrafts arrive at thegate. The concept is already applied elsewhere (e.g. in Jamaica) and known as the “solar-at-gate” mechanism.The feasibility study examined volumes of solar energy needed and potential locations for installing the requiredsolar panels, carried out a financial analysis and calculated the amounts of avoided GHG emissions under differentscenarios. As a result, the study proposes the installation of solar panels at 6 locations with a total annualgeneration capacity of 23,982 MWh, a total installation cost of USD 29,027,600 and an emission of 16,780 tonnesCO2 annually avoided. All equipment proposed is hurricane (category 5) – proof, hence in line with CC adaptationkey requirements, and appropriate measures to deal with hazardous waste associated with solar PV systems will be put in place.
The Airport Authority of T&T (AATT) will oversee the implementation of the project. For the day-to-daymanagement a project unit will be established. Immediate concerns related to the implementation of the overallproject include the search for funds to cover the investment costs and the identification of a contractor.

The present GCCA+ action will support the project by financing the installation of solar panels at location nr. 4which is close to an existing open car park. Ground-mounted solar panels will be installed over an area of 1.54 hawith an annual generation capacity of 1,443,830 kWh and the potential to avoid annually an emission of 1,010 metrictonnes CO2. The installation cost is estimated at 1,701,000 USD (equivalent to 1,409,279 EUR).

Installation of solar energy systems10 in public utilities and remote communities with increased capacity to maintain solar power systems
As indicated above, by 2021 T&T aims to generate 10% from its energy from renewable sources.Implementation, however, is slow mainly due to lack of incentives and existing regulatory barriers. While thegovernment is making progress to make the policy/legislative environment more conducive for the desired shifttowards renewable energy sources (RES), the project will support the process by installing solar energy systems thatwill supply public utilities and/or remote and more vulnerable communities with RE. Apart from making clean andsustainable energy available to the direct beneficiaries, the systems will also serve as pilot or demonstration projectswith a view to enhancing their adoption and replication, as well as providing visibility and utilitarian value. In thatsense, preference will be given to grid connected RE projects as there is limited experience with these in thecountry. The MEEI hopes to learn from these pilot projects in view of subsequently running an efficient andinformed roll out process of small-scale grid-connected RE systems.

The activity is directly linked to the following action under the NDC Implementation Plan: “E.3.11. Develop andimplement pilot micro-installation projects (1 MW) for PV solar for low income communities and geographically remote communities in Trinidad and Tobago”.
Chronologically, the following steps will be undertaken:

•    Identification of adequate locations, based on criteria developed in consensus with MEEI, MEAU andTHA (in defining the criteria, this step provides an opportunity to promote gender equality).
•    Preparation of a technical/financial dossier for each of the selected locations.  All systems will be hurricane – proof.
•    Procurement of equipment and materials (supply contracts) and procurement of labour services for the installation (works contracts).
•    Enhance the chances for future sustainability by (1) capacity building of the different categories ofbeneficiaries in proper maintenance and basic repair works of the solar power systems and (2) guiding the beneficiaries in the establishment of a financial system that willprovide the necessary funds for covering future maintenance and replacement costs.
•    Appropriate measures to deal with hazardous waste associated with solar PV systems will be put in place.
•    Monitoring the implementation of the supply and works contracts (supply, installation, capacity building) and the effective operation of the solar energy systems.
In view of the importance as a learning experience, staff of the RE & EE team of the MEEI will actively participatein relevant steps of the process.

Support to the implementation of the new, RE/EE-conducive policy and legislative framework

Referring to the ongoing work of adjusting the current policies and regulations to make them more conducive to power generation by renewable sources (RE) and to reduced energy consumption (EE), the MEEI requested aproject component under which technical assistance could be provided for the operationalisation of the newpolicies and regulations. As the situation is rapidly evolving with many players involved (including donor-fundedinterventions), the precise nature of the support needed at the moment that the project will be implemented cannot bepredicted. But, in more general terms, it will concern the design of operational systems, inspection and monitoringschemes, certification schemes, etc. as well as the development of a series of incentives (e.g. for replacement of oldelectrical appliances with low efficiency) to enhance uptake. In terms of resource allocation, this activity will beconsiderably less important than the previous activity. The idea is to have some provision to address barriers andchallenges as they appear and/or to fill gaps that will be identified during project implementation.
Two examples of actions from the NDC Implementation Plan that could be covered under this activity are: “E.2.7.Conduct research and determine local energy standards (and energy ratings) for key household appliances andproducts”; and “E.4.1. Establish an appropriate public-private partnership model for funding projects for energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy and climate change issues in the industry and commercial sectors in T&T.”

Public awareness raising on Energy Efficiency, Correct Pricing and Renewable Energy

Pending the expected increases in the electricity tariff to reflect real costs, coupled with the general lack ofawareness on energy conservation, the MEEI sees a critical need for a Public Awareness Campaign to inform on thefinancial and ecological costs of energy production and to promote efficient use of electricity. Such a campaign isbelieved to be instrumental to initiate and to promote the highly needed transition from an energy inefficientculture to a more sustainable, energy conserving society. The campaign will focus on the following outputs:
•    Population understanding the background and the need for the review of the current electricity tariffs;
•    Population understanding the benefits of using energy generated by renewable sources versus fossil fuel
•    Population sensitized on the need for efficient use of energy;
•    Population informed on different practical ways and mechanisms to increase their energy efficiency;
and aim at attendant changes in behaviour, ultimately resulting in a reduction of T&T’s per capita carbon footprint,and contributing to meeting the country’s local and international commitment to climate change mitigation.
The activity aligns with several actions from the NDC Implementation Plan. Under the Energy Sector, theactivity aligns with: E.1.2. Undertake public awareness campaigns on the envisaged adjustment (increase) of theelectricity rates to better reflect the real cost; E.2.4. Design and implement a public awareness programme onenergy conservation and energy efficiency; E.2.8. Design and implement a local voluntary energy ratingprogramme (including public awareness) to promote energy efficiency in homes, businesses and products; E.3.6. Design and implement a public awareness programme for Feed-in-Tariffs for Renewable Energyinstallations; and E.4.2. Design and implement an education campaign on energy efficiency, energy conservation andrenewable energy which is integrated into the national school curriculum for primary and secondary schools. Asfor the Industry Sector, there are: I.1.2. Design and implement a sectoral awareness campaign on the ESCO (EnergyService Company) policy for energy efficiency in the power generation, industry (light and heavy) and commercialsectors to promote energy audits for implementing energy efficiency measures; I.3.4. Design and implement apublic awareness programme on the T&T ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme), including its design and contributionto GHG emission reductions and to the NDC implementation; and I.5.3. Design and implement a public awarenessprogramme on the Industry Energy Conservation and Efficiency Challenge and Recognition Programme, includingsuccess stories, case studies and contribution to GHG emission reductions and to the NDC implementation.