Ministers urged to advance renewable energy drive
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday March 25, 2011 – Energy Ministers from across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have been challenged to advance the region’s renewable energy drive and leverage energy sector advantages in the face of the recent surge in oil prices.
The was thrown out to the Ministers, meeting for the first time in more than two decades, by Acting CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite at the 35th Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED).
Against the background of the domino effect of the spike in oil prices occasioned by the continuing unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the reported leaks from the Japan nuclear power plants following the earthquake there early in March, Applewhaite said that it appeared that renewable energy would have to play an even more important role than originally contemplated.
She outlined the steps being taken by Member States to develop renewable energy resources and added that the CARICOM Secretariat had launched a `Greening Initiative’ to seek to improve efficiency through behaviour change, energy efficiency retrofits, as well as possible renewable energy generation, among other objectives.
Pointing out that the Community no longer had the luxury of “just tinkering,” the Acting Secretary-General urged the Ministers to find ways to develop concrete and effective strategies to change the landscape towards a “diversified energy mix, significantly improving efficiency of use and increasing the contribution from renewable energy.”
“I challenge us to see how we can leverage the energy sector advantages, both fossil and renewable, to advance our development, through such approaches as cross border integration of energy systems, encouraging participation in downstream energy sector industries and implementation of regional strategies to support capacity development in the sector,” she said.
Ambassador Applewhaite said the cost and supply of energy were the most urgent items on the global economic agenda and therefore, on the agenda also of CARICOM.