(CMR) The Government says misinformation shared recently about ReGen, Cayman’s Energy and Recycling Centre, inaccurately describes both the costs associated with the project and its impact on current and future generations of Cayman Islands residents.
ReGen is the name for the waste-to-energy plant and recycling facilities that will form a sustainable, integrated solid waste management system for the Cayman Islands. In 2017, the Cayman Islands Government selected a Dart-led consortium as the preferred bidder to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the new facilities. In 2021, the previous administration signed a contract with the Dart-led consortium. While this was an important project milestone, there were still a number of significant issues left to be negotiated before the project can reach financial close.
How much will the project cost?
In a release issued Wednesday, the Government said financial modeling for the project was updated at the beginning of 2023 and that final costs are still being negotiated. There are two key figures associated with the project:
-the contract cost awarded to the Dart-led consortium; and,
-the total, projected cost of all the components that make up the entire system over the 25-year contract term – including ReGen and the estimated cost of the Department of Environmental Health’s continued role in the delivery of an integrated sustainable waste management system for all three Cayman Islands.
While negotiations are still ongoing, the contract cost is less than the figure shared on social media, the Government has indicated. At present, the Government’s costs for the collection, recycling, and disposal of waste are approximately CI$11M per annum, a figure which is partially offset by third-party revenues.
The estimated cost to construct ReGen has increased since the Dart-led consortium was selected as the preferred bidder in 2017. In 2021, the construction costs for the new facilities was projected to be CI$205 million. This is an increase over the initial contract amount and is largely the result of a policy decision by the previous administration to increase the capacity of the facilities in response to improved data on the amount of waste that would need to be treated. It is also important to note that, in the six years since the Dart-led consortium was chosen as the preferred bidder, global supply chain issues and procurement challenges have increased costs for products and services worldwide.
The construction costs will be financed by the Dart-led consortium with no cost to Government until ReGen is fully operational. Once complete, Government will pay a unitary charge per ton of waste processed through the new facilities over the 25-year life of the contract. At the end of the contract, Government will take ownership of the facilities.
Why won’t the Office of the Auditor General release its report on ReGen?
In 2021, the PACT Government and the Governor’s Office asked the Office of the Auditor General to review the project and provide initial insights and advice. This report contains commercially sensitive information that the Government is using to inform its ongoing negotiations and improve the overall value for money of the project. Auditor General Sue Winspear has confirmed that the Office of the Auditor General will release an updated report once the Government signs the final contract.
Will the Government’s investment in ReGen benefit the people of the Cayman Islands?
Achieving an integrated solid waste management system is fundamental to safeguarding human and environmental health in our community and ensuring the sustainable development of the Cayman Islands. Put simply, the Cayman Islands cannot afford to keep landfilling our waste.
Ensuring this incredibly important and much-needed national project is a value-for-money proposition for the country is a key priority for the Cayman Islands Government.
While the Government is confident in its ability to manage the existing landfill footprint to its fullest until the ReGen facilities are commissioned and operational in 2026, there is no doubt that the country urgently needs an integrated solution for solid waste management that will significantly lower the amount of waste being landfilled.
Are there any updates on the project?
At this important stage in project negotiations, there is an almost continuous dialogue between the Government and the Dart-led consortium. Meanwhile, the Environmental Impact Assessment for the project is also proceeding at pace.
Air quality and noise pollution data collected during the EIA is currently going through analysis and modeling. The traffic study to assess potential impacts on road use during construction and operations is now complete. Additionally, a successful drilling program to investigate hydrological and hydrogeological conditions at the site was recently completed. For more information on ongoing EIAs and the EIA process in the Cayman Islands, please visit: https://conservation.ky/current-eias/
The environmental studies conducted as part of the EIA will form the basis of an Environmental Statement, which is the final deliverable of the EIA. The Environmental Statement will also be subject to a public consultation period, currently anticipated to take place in the fall of 2023, before it is finalized.