Focus – Is energy self-sufficiency possible in DR?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a negative impact on the global energy supply chain. This is because Russia, as the second largest exporter of oil and first in natural gas, has been subjected to financial sanctions that have put pressure on its supplies, including mineral coal, in the post-pandemic phase affected by the supply shock. In fact, despite Western requests to increase its production to pre-pandemic levels, OPEC has remained faithful to previous agreements that were only increasing 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day per month.

This new reality has affected the decarbonization agenda that considers the energy transition by reducing the use of petroleum derivatives and natural gas based on the expansion of the use of renewable energy sources in the consumption matrix.

The Dominican Republic, although it cannot achieve true energy self-sufficiency due to its complete dependence on imported energy sources – oil, natural gas, and mineral coal – can expand its energy matrix by giving a greater boost to renewable energies such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass.

For this reason, he is very pleased that during the visit of a high-level mission of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) headed by Mauricio Clever Caroni, to the Minister of Energy and Mines, Engineer Antonio Almonte, the importance of decarbonizing the electricity sector and financial support for the Corporation to ensure access to energy sources Renewables to the participation targets of 25% in 2025 and 30% in 2030 in the generation matrix.

Likewise, the visit of Argentine and Panamanian politicians to the Punta Cana Macao Energy Concession (CEPM), a company that is decisively committed to renewable energies and electric mobility, with about 400 Evergo charging points across the country, which has become a mandatory standard of efficiency and visibility Long-term business of companies in Latin America, which is evidence that in our country it is possible to refocus and make our electricity industry more efficient in responding to new challenges, repeating successful surrounding experiences.

In this sense, it is up to the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) to take the lead in the transformation of the national energy industry at this juncture that amplifies existing challenges. We have a lot of failed or truncated experiences in the Dominican Republic with counter-reform applied to the capitalization process.

Therefore, in our own opinion, the new national energy policy should be based on several basic pillars, namely: 1) a price policy that reflects the real costs of production, both in the electricity rate and in the fuel sector, on the basis that only an appropriate price signal generates efficiency and rationality in consumption; b) a vigorous campaign to save and conserve energy, with the aim of linking the three elements (environment, efficiency and economy) in the consciousness of the citizen so that it is understood that the efficient use of energy has a positive effect on the environment, in the local economy and the state balance of payments; (3) Specific promotion of renewable energies, review of incentives and making them more efficient and removing obstacles that have been delaying their development, to increase the capacity of transmission lines and to enhance the use of storage through batteries that ensure constant power from renewable energy sources; (4) decisively attack the shortcomings of the distribution companies, which are reflected in the historically low level of service quality, high levels of power loss and low levels of collection; For these purposes, one can start with EDEESTE, the company with the worst performance indicators, and separate the aspects of resource management, capital expenditure and operating expenses (CAPEX and OPEX) based on pre-defined criteria controlled by the Ministry of Finance, from the business district and loss management, which will have, In a supervised manner, semi-annual compliance parameters, such as losses, collection, reconnection, duration and frequency of outages, etc., such supervision will be the responsibility of MEM and SIE; c) Expand the coverage used by the Treasury for LNG for coal and fuel oil for power generation; (6) Approval and encouragement of the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Law are among some specific aspects.

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