The pros and cons of using natural gas to power Cayman Islands

Over the years, natural gas has been recommended as an alternative fossil fuel. Even in the local monopoly’s integrated resource plan, natural gas is sought as a substitute for diesel fuel. However, natural gas has advantages and disadvantages which, when discussed, must be explained in a fair and balanced manner.

Lower price

The most often mentioned advantage of using natural gas is price. Reports indicate that its use in the electricity sector could lead to lower prices, which may be especially the case when combined with increased use of renewable sources.

An argument against this is that the decline in natural gas prices may not last forever and may be subject to volatility in the future, due to world or market events.

Less pollution

Since it is not possible to rely on the lower price argument alone, other factors must be considered. One such consideration is that natural gas is considered better for the environment than other fossil fuels.

As reports indicate, natural gas burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel and releases less carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels.

But the same advantage is also a disadvantage since the source is always a fossil fuel and therefore always leads to a release of CO2 into the environment.

Less dependence on oil

Another argument is that the use of natural gas could reduce the country’s dependence on oil. Here, natural gas is seen as a reliable alternative that could be used to generate electricity.

At the same time, it can be argued that the promotion and use of renewable energies could also lead to less dependence on fossil fuels. Renewable energies could therefore be encouraged more and an increased number of solar, wind and other players should be encouraged in the field of renewable energies to make these alternatives more viable.

Easy to carry

Another advantage of natural gas is that it is said to be easier to transport. In particular, it can be transported by gas pipelines and ships in the form of liquefied natural gas, which would occupy less volume in this form.

However, where pipelines are used, leaks can occur. Such leaks can be difficult to detect, especially because natural gas is reported to be colorless, odorless and tasteless.

If leaks are not detected, explosions or accidents may occur. Not only can such explosions prove dangerous, but any undetected gases escaping into the atmosphere can contribute to climate change.

Finally, concerns may arise if pipelines have to cross environmental protected areas or near communities.

Source dependent

As for the environment, reports indicate that while wind or solar power may depend on the presence of wind or sunlight to operate, natural gas does not need sunlight or wind to operate. In this sense, natural gas could be considered a stable energy source, which could possibly be used in combination with renewable energy sources.

Versatile use

In addition to being a stable source of energy, natural gas would have multiple uses. These include use in homes for cooking and industrial use when making paint, plastics and fertilizers. Natural gas can also be used to create electricity, as noted by the local utility provider in its annual report.

More efficient

Using natural gas can also lead to greater efficiency when used. In fact, natural gas is said to produce more energy when burned compared to other sources.

What Caymans Should Consider

Ultimately, Cayman stakeholders should consider what form of energy is good for Cayman in the long term, keeping in mind the cost of the energy source, any environmental impact and any other factor.

As far as long term usage goes, natural gas would be enough, should last around 50-150 years worldwide depending on your data source. This means that eventually the supply will run out.

This should be kept in mind if Cayman plans to switch from natural gas to diesel in the future for electricity generation.

Cayman shouldn’t wait for fossil fuels to run out, however, to expand infrastructure to alternatives such as wind and solar.

Instead, Cayman should actively develop wind and solar now to prepare for the future, including adding more players and more competition, moving away from the idea of ​​monopolies.

About Leni Loberns

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