Wind farm dropped for radar

| 15/10/2010

(CNS): Proposals for a possible wind farm in East End have been stopped in its tracks as a result of the government’s plans to erect a Doppler radar in the same area. Hopes  of opening up Cayman’s first an alternative energy source with a 200ft wind tower in the High Rock area have been dashed in favour of the radar project which government says will fill an important weather tracking black hole. The government said in a statement on Thursday evening that despite the need to find alternative energy sources the Ministry of Works said it was supporting the radar as a priority and could risk losing the funding if it didn’t

CNS understands that the wind turbine idea had gained traction with CUC which was examining the possibility of generating power through this natural resource and had been conducting a feasibility study to measure the consistency of the wind in the area. Some sixteen acres of land was also set to be leased in order to construct the turbine. However, the ministry says that the radar and the wind farm cannot share the same space and the radar gets priority.
“This site was identified by a team of experts from the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation as the most suitable for the optimal functioning of the radar. They looked at accessibility, power supply in the area, elevation and the fact that the site was inland, protected from sea spray,” the ministry said. “Proposals have been received to establish a wind farm in the same area, however national and regional safety concerns make the choice for the Doppler equipment site inevitable.”
The ministry said the as Cayman is considered to be at higher risk of hurricanes than any other island in the region there is a serious need for local radar, which was demonstrated by such storms as Gilbert (1988), Mitch (1998), Ivan (2004) and Paloma (2008) all of which took the country by surprise due to the lack of localised weather information.
“The Doppler radar will give our National Weather Service more accurate, timely and real-time information,” the ministry stated , adding that it will serve the entire Caribbean, filling a gap in the recently implemented regional radar network coverage.
The ministry denied that by supporting the Doppler radar project unreservedly that it was therefore against alternative energy but that this was a vital project that had been in the works for almost a decade and had taken a long time to find funding. “Securing the necessary funding from the European Union took years of advocating….. If this opportunity is not utilised at this time, then there is every chance that the necessary funding will be withdrawn,” officials said.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Where is the ERA in all this? Why have we not heard from Mr. Thomas on how the ERA stood up for the consumer? I see many Solar Panel salesmen on here promoting their technology and having read their post reminds me of the fisherman who says his fish is not stink. There is also a reference to the man on island who has excess solar energy that CUC will not buy back through net-metering; does he understand this is also an ERA issue? However, I suspect that net metering may be further delayed as it’s not the message but the messenger who is no longer reliable.

    Here is what the public needs to understand. First and foremost, the company that was proposing the wind turbines is one of the biggest alternative energy providers on the planet; second, its parent company is McAlpine seeking to stimulate our economy with a green project to combat unemployment in our construction industry. The loss of jobs and virtually no construction led to theidea of having RES design a small wind farm of only $40 million to produce a capital project. CUC jumped on board in support and willing to sign agreements that would allow the wind energy to replace the fossil fuel energy on the consumers bills and reduces the cost to customers. CUC would not have owned this farm, simply pass on the green energy to the consumer and reduce the fosil fuelcost to customers, simply put, CUC would purchase this power cheaper than they can produce it with their plant and sell it to the consumer at a profit, but still cheaper than the diesel generator and the consumer would have the added benefit of seeing a reduction in fuel cost.
    There are many on island attempting to sell their solar panels and so called renewable energy products. I invite you to visit the site (link below) and see for yourselves just how large RES is as I did the research myself. If you know senior persons working for McAlpine, call them and ask them, I did. If you know senior people at CUC, call them and validate what the McAlpine people tell you, I did. Here is the link
    Bottom line? We need to change the ERA head, just another Senior Civil Servant who does not have a clue, does not want to have a clue, does not care about the consumers and collects around $120k per year.
  2. Anonymous says:

    Why would anyone go to the bother of creating a large scale renewable energy farm when CUC won’t pay a fair price for energy put back into the grid?  Without a fair net metering policy, there is no economic reason to proceed with green tech!  We need to change this attitude first!

    • Anonymous says:

      Commercial wind does not need a subsidy like photovoltaics. The developers went through the bother because they could make a profit at a price competitive with deisel.

    • Ohm My God says:

      The metering policy is absolutely correct for consumers who generate a little electricity because when they need electricity from the grid they have to pay some of the cost of keeping the grid infrastructure in place so that economically neutral bilateral delivery can occur.

    • Anonymous says:

      12:06 Stop the lies. You are attempting to mislead the publuic here.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why is domestic solar power not represented on the Nat Energy Committee? Until it has someone to represent it we are stuck with CUC and its dubious (commerical) wind energy plans. CUC sits on the committee so why cant ,say, Electratech?

  4. Anonymous says:

    These storms didn’t take the island by surprise! For the most part, the people knew  days before hand, that these storms were coming. How stupid do you think we are CUC/GOV???? This smells like a classic case of scratching the backs. Hey!!! but I’ve got a solution, try and fool us by simply stating…that we’re going to construct the radar somewhere else, and make plans for the wind later "farm 10 years from now", at which point not even CUC them selves will be able to afford "power". People you need to protest these rediculous motions/ideas by your "Gov". We cannot continue to take this crap lying down.. think about your kids people…the powers that be sure are.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Government never heard for internet where we do have access to tropical and hurricane weather. Why spend million for radar while we can access weather on website for free?!?!

    Solar is best as it work under clouds or clear sky while wind is unreliable.

  6. Thinking before speaking... says:

    You know what CUC, no windmills, no problem because there is another (and much better) alternative energy source which you should now pursue – the SUN – an endless supply of which I am sure we can all agree Cayman has for most of the 365 days of each year!    While I know very little about what would be necessary for CUC to do to incorporate solar energy into its present fossil fueled electricity generating system, I am convinced that even if they have not already  weighed all the pros and cons of this option, they should seriously look into this with the goal of updating customers sooner rather than later on what progress (including government’s attituude/response) if any, is being made with this alternative.  CUC you have the power so how about shining some light and hope your customers’ way!

    By the way, towering windmills sprouting up over acres of land is aesthetically less pleasing than solar panels on rooftops – well in my opinion at least!

    • Anonymous says:

      There is a guy in Grand Harbour who is trying to link to the electricity network as his house is solar powered to feed electricty into the grid when thay have too much. Suprise suprise CUC are not interested

      • Ohm My God says:

        CUC have plenty of arrangements for the taking on board of electricity generated by domestic users.  The bases for doing this were the matter of regulatory determination not so long ago.  So your post is misleading, if not fictitious.

        • Makollig Jezvahted says:

          Your post is fictitious, pal. Try jumping through all the hoops and wading through the red tape.

          CUC are not interested. Period.

          Please engage your brain before your mouth.

      • Anonymous says:

        What price is he selling his surplus energy for and can it be called on at all times when CUC needs it?

  7. Big Red says:




  8. go green says:

    I have to say that this is absolutely ridiculous!  Cayman should be going green with whatever and however they can.  They never take down the turbines, they are built sturdy.  The US has plenty of solar panels, wind farms, water dams, etc.  It works out wonderful.  There are homes that have solar panels and guess what, they put back into the grid monthly, and have no more electric bill.  This would be extremely beneficial to Cayman and their people.

    I do understand that the wind power is not very attractive but why not look into other means for conservation.  While conservation may not be on the politicians list in Cayman, it has been in the US.  The government has so graciously given rebates back to the people who utilize "green" energy. Personally, my next home will be completely selfcontained so I will not have to rely on anything but my own resources.

    In the US, they began putting up solar panels on telephone poles to feed the grid directly.  This does help to keep costs at a reasonable rate (if there is such a thing).  Why couldn’t small projects like this be started around the whole Island?  There is plenty of sunlight to capture.

    All of Cayman is beautiful and to see wind turbines could be an eyesore, but start a program for solar panels.  This could definitely help the people!  The best thing to do is to invest the money for the systems and get off the grid completely.  That required generators that can break down the energy into a consumable form.  This can be quite costly but it is yours.  You are not making anyone else wealthy, if anything you take from them.

    Good luck Cayman!  I hope that the politicians start using their brains.  I know thought processes are a thing of the past for all politicians, in Cayman or elsewhere. 

  9. Mr. "Green" from the Republic says:


    I think the site proposed for the wind farm was a poor choice I would have like to seen it closer to the ocean because the trade winds lose a lot of energy passing over land and creating turbulence for the blades which is bad for generating power, ideally a wind turbine should be located at a site were the wind is fairly constant and minimal turbulence such as near the ocean. Next time you’re in near the ocean on the northern side of the island take note of how constant the wind is and it’s that way all year round. Now as for the radar this is important for people studying climate change and computer modeling which might explain why the EU is funding the project, even our local weathermen can use it as a tool in studying Cayman weather more precisely instead of giving a general weather prediction for the day such as “Overcast skies with isolated showers” they could tell you within an hour where that isolated shower is going to occur, if its going to happen in West Bay or East End etc….But its more important to have this tool in Okalahoma where an isolated thunderstorm could mean the difference between life and death from tornadoes, but that’s not the case in Cayman our threat from hurricanes we can see coming from days in advance if you watch the news everyday.  
    We need to invest in alternative energy now because it makes us less susceptible to the sudden swing in oil prices which we all know directly affects our power bill, but if CUC shareholders are going to make less and the government which relies heavily on duty collected from CUC diesel is going to be less of course they are going to drop this idea of alternative energy like a hot cake. It’s sad but true.
  10. Anonymous says:

    Reading some of the contributions against wind turbines baffles me. I spoke with someone hosting a radio program on this issue saying that Cayman would be perfect for wind turbine power.

    That person disagreed stating that he flew airplanes so I suggested that he avoid the wind towers. He was also concerned for the birds welfare.

    The levels of sustained winds in the Cayman Islands would be very good for wind power.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Change the Building Code to force developers to adopt solar on new houses, then it wont cost Govt anything. Ditto inefficient a/c handlers (banned in the US but the equipment of choice with developers here..). Govt could take the lead with its affordable housing programe

  12. ExBlueGirl says:

    This is called somebody doesn’t want somebody to have a wind farm!

    Stupidness on the Government’s side, just stupidness.

    The few or the one who doesn’t care about the needs of the many= Greedy Politicians!

    For the persons that don’t think it will work, you haven’t lived here long enough, much less, live in East End.  the wind blows.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Easy way out.

    What is going on here, are we stupid, what is the game, so CUC did not know that the goverment was planning to put in doppler radar, come on they could have worked around it, figured sometrhing out, they choose not to because the more they spend the more they make. No effort required here.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Two hundred foot high wind turbines are completely the wrong scale for Cayman. They would dominate the island. Good riddance I say!

    In the UK the annualized efficiency of wind farms is a pathetic 17%. Domestic solar power is the answer in Cayman, and it will happen when the economics of solar give a decent return.

    • Anonymous says:

      Solar efficiency, i.e. average output/peak rated output, would be less than wind in the UK. They are roughly the same in Cayman, but solar is more expensive.

  15. Anonymous says:

    While I can appreciate Cayman wanting to be on top of Hurricane or Weather detection, this plan makes no sense. A doppler radar is simply a tool to monitor the weather, something that we have seemed to do pretty well without one, with all of the numerous other free tools available to us, why would we drop however many hundreds of thousands of dollars on a doppler? will it prevent cayman from getting hit by a hurricane? will we not be able to know there is a hurricane approaching without one? maybe the doppler will help with lowering the cost of living?

    Seriously, it would appear that not much thought is going into these decisions, how long has the public, and private sector of Cayman been crying for alternative energy or even an alternative power company? And when something seems feasible that could help us out, even if only a few households, we drop it favor of weather detection? This is BS.

  16. Bobby Anonymous says:

    And what is wrong with using the radar dome that already exists at the back of the airport?


    • Anonymous says:

      Quite simply, it is already being used by Central American Air Traffic Control to monitor air traffic in the region. It fills a significant void in radar coverage in the Western Caribbean.

  17. Anon says:

    Please get your facts right.   Wind turbine energy is entirely feasible on Cayman.  Although during the summer months it would not produce so much a 20GW wind farm using 6 turbines would produce enough energy to power 20,000 homes during the winter windy months. AS for dismantling the turbines there would be no need for that – they are built to Cat 5 hurricane standards and withstand hurricanes in places all over the world .  The Doppler radar on the other hand a is a totally pointless European freebie.  It will give Cayman no better or earlier warnings than we currently get from the various meteorological agencies and Cayman is giving up the chance to stop CUC belching expensive smoke.  Wind energy would be cheaper and not so dependent on import duty by the government, fuel prices etc.  I am sad for Cayman.

  18. Anonymous says:

    What ever happened to the deep water project thats was mentioned in the paper years and years ago by CUC?

  19. caribotom says:

    some people in decision-making positions and politicians seem to really not care too much what is best for cayman.

    It seems they are smart entrepreneurs being more concerned about keeping CUC polluting this paradise-islands. (for what rea$ons o ever)

    cayman easily can obtain energy-autonomy, probably ceasing to engage with CUC! (and I may question their pricing strategy!)

    why are there no laws forcing developers and home-owners to install solar panels on every rooftop?

    shouldn’t it be the government’s duty to make much-needed sustainable living affordable for everyone?

    and shouldn’t government lead by example?

    …something is definitely running towards the wrong direction here…


    with green thaughts


    (yea, and as for me, I don’t believe this radar stuff they re telling… there’s plenty of satellites in the orbit, and many other weather tecnology at hand. but we need that station prior to reduce our consumption of expensive inefficient fossil energy?! 

  20. PV says:

    Wind power in Cayman is not feasible on a commercial scale, you don’t need to be a genius to work that out. Never mind too little & irregular wind (this is paradise, no?), the cost of dismantling whenever a storm threatens would cost a fortune, & over a year far too much downtime. Yes, we know it contributes domestically for Dive tech, but that’s the point – small scale domestic only, not commercial.

    The future for Cayman as far as alternative energy goes is to play to the country’s blatently obvious strength – sun and heat; small scale domestic solar power. Sell excess to CUC? There is insufficient potential to do that so why bother. The point is to heavily subsidise your own power usage via small scale household solar and aim to be self sufficient, nothing more. A normal house can realistically be energy self sufficient that way, but we need Govt incentives – yes, a very modest capital subsidy per household – or the equipment is still too expensive initially. Sadly, it will not happen soon because of the vested interests in CUC’s profits and the misguided view to ignore domestic power supply. Commercial supply can stay with CUC for the time being – 1 step at a time folks.

    The lack of Govt support for small scale domestic solar power in a country with a climate like ours is a national disgrace. I wonder what the newly convened National Energy Policy Committee (chaired by CG and starring CUC…oh dear) has to say about small scale solar? We wait with baited breath.


    • whodatis says:

      Excellent post.

    • Anonymous says:

      This response is overly biased to solar and ignores key facts. Wind turbines can be designed for hurricane force winds as well as solar arrays can be. Electricty produced by solar panels is two to three times the cost of wind energy, is no more reliable and to produce commercial quantities which would lower costs requires vast tracts of land which we do not have. Perhaps a good idea is to combine a wind and solar farm.  What the country needs now is diversity for the future, but alternatives for a small island like Grand Cayman are few and this decision by government may have practically eliminated one. To the point of individual energy independence, everyone has the legal right to come off CUC’s system and produce their own electricity. The issue is one of economics as many of us found out after Ivan.  If you need CUC to provide a reliable service you can’t really expect to get it for free.

    • Pending says:

      You clearly have never been to the other side of the island, and by that I mean EE.

      This is another stupid decision and waste of money. It goes hand in hand with the governments  proposal to put a cargo dock up there, on the roughest side of the island.



  21. Arheddis Varkenjaab says:

     Money wins out every time. Still, with less green energy in the form of turbines, leads to more global warming and ultimately severer weather for the planet we will need more weather monitoring. What exactly are we to do with all the data? Anybody else care to join me under this big turtle shell? – Arheddis Varkenjaab

  22. Green Mango says:

    Exactly how would the dopler radar have helped predict the long-distance wave damage we received from Mitch in 1998? Was there anyone who didn’t know that Gilbert, Ivanand Paloma were coming? People were tracking ‘Ivan’ while it was still a fresh breeze coming off of Africa. Now, we might have needed better shelters for those storms but not a more detailed reading of their rain bands to know that they were going to pound theliving daylights out of whichever Islands they hit (not just the Cayman Islands). Better weather radar is handy but none of these justifications make sense to me.

    I’m glad I’m not CUC. I’d be pretty annoyed to know I was given permission to erect test towers and investigate the feasibility of putting a wind farm on a particular piece of land (there must have been some reason why this particular piece was suggested as a good potential for lease for this purpose) only to be told "sorry, we’ve had our eye on it for ages now". On the other hand CUC has always said that once the numbers (wind strength vs the cost of diesel) was right they would get serious about wind power. If those numbers are coming in to balance I doubt the loss of one leasehold area will stop them. Someone’s going to be getting a bid to sell or lease their land soon is my guess.

  23. Anonymous says:

    "such storms as Gilbert (1988), Mitch (1998), Ivan (2004) and Paloma (2008) all of which took the country by surprise due to the lack of localised weather information."

    Who’s kidding who? Those of us who experienced Gilbet, Mitch, Ivan and Paloma know full well that no radar installation in the world could have helped in those situations.

    Radar is important, but so is wind energy and don’t expect the people to believe that sites for both cannot be found on Government-owned land in the Eastern Districts. There is no need to cancel one in favour of the other.

    Say that Government is no longer interested in alternate sources of energy if such is the case. But of course that would be totally against the manifesto that the Premeir and his cronies fooled the people with in the last elections.

    Perhaps this is a yet another case that the Deputy Premeir has made a decision without consultation with the Premeir, just like the special ordered Ford Explorer that she and her "bodyguard/driver" now has.

    Maybe when both the Premeir and his Deputy find it convenient to return home and both be here at the same time they will sort out these issues. Poor Rollie!! He is left holding the bag and has no idea what is in it, or where the top of it is!!!


    • anonymous says:

      Who is advising the Deputy Premier on these policy matters? (to get a new car, to choose doplar radar over renewable energy, expensive travel plans and the like)



  24. nauticalone says:

    Gotta spend on travelling, behemouth SUVs and walls, security and other dignitary trimmings eh!

    And keep CUC shareholders grinning too.   he, he, he…

    • Offona Tangent says:

      Cute nickname. So, does it really mean "nautical one" or is it that you like to wear "naughty cologne"(nauti colone)….. or maybe its the "no tickle one" (nau tical one) Oh!! I Think I know………. You were the one who used to work for CAL but not anymore "Not I CAL one" (Naut i cal one)

      Sorry I digress. Back to subject at hand……

  25. Anonymous says:

    While the consideration of renewable energy sources is most commendable, it has been proven that wind farms have to be significantly  large in order to generate efficient amounts of electricity. Nothwithstanding the small size of Grand Cayman in terms of electricity consumption, a land-based wind farm would have to occupy a few dozen acres in order to be viable (bearing in mind spacing requirements). Is that much land available exclusively for that purpose?

    As a beneficial investment, the Doppler radar leads by a country mile.  


    • Anonymous says:

      "a few dozen acres"  that would be compared to 500 for the Shetty hospital?

  26. Man says:

    So just so I’m clear, I can track the weather on my computer and this redundant equipment takes precedence over cheaper energy??? This is just simply stupid. CUC is not the problem, unintelligent elected members are.

    • Anonymous says:

       Solar not wind…, solar, solar.  Make it to power the waste removal of the dump.  These politicians need to get back here and tackle the home problems NOW.