CARICOM countries to unite in renewable energy push

VALETTA, Malta, Wednesday September 12, 2012 – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member countries have resolved to work together to ensure adequate support for the region’s thrust towards renewable energy.

This commitment resulted from a meeting held at the September 7 conclusion of the two-day renewable energy summit in Malta, organised by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Jamaica’s Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM) Julian Robinson, who was his country’s representative at the summit, called the meeting of member states in attendance to examine how CARICOM, as a regional bloc, could interact with entities like IRENA to source assistance, grants, and other financial instruments “to facilitate joined-up projects rather than compete head on for instruments from the same global financial pie”.

Robinson pointed out that invariably many of the smaller countries lose out to the larger and better resourced ones when trying to source financial assistance.

The minister said that, arising from the meeting, the eight CARICOM countries represented have agreed in principle to work together to complete a renewable energy assessment within the region so that “we know where we are and what support we can lend to each other as well as areas where we can seek collective support.”

He said the members also pledged to “examine the possibilities of harmonising regulations and legislative framework for renewables, which will allow all investors to invest within the region in complement, not competition”. They have also agreed to carry out work with regulators on renewable energy initiatives.

The group also resolved to increase the CARICOM presence in the IRENA. The only two current members are Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada.

The eight CARICOM countries represented at the Malta summit were Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Barbados, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Dominica.

Also in attendance was United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) chief of the Caribbean Strategic Monitoring and Support Unit of the Regional Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean, Ambassador Crispin Gregoire.

Gregoire gave his commitment to work with the region through the UNDP country offices to ensure adequate support in the push for greater renewable energy use.

One of the objectives of the Malta summit was to encourage small developing states to increase their use of renewable energy sources in the overall mix of energy consumption. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)