CARICOM Riding The Wave of Renewable Energy

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Something old, yet something new. When the idea of renewable energy is scrutinized, it is fair to say there is nothing unusual about utilizing the forces of nature to aid our day to day life. As an Island dweller, for decades the power of the sun, wind, and rain has been harnessed by my ancestors to dry clothes, preserving food, assist in agriculture and many other practices. However, the renewable energy revolution is far more than a bequeath tradition.

Renewable energy is the answer! Facing climate change, the question stood resolute, how do we sustain without fossil fuel? Grenada, like most of the Caribbean territories, leans heavily on the exploitation of fossil fuel. In 2015 the IMF presentation on the Caribbean energy sector revealed that 85% of the primary energy consumed was in the form of imported petroleum products.

A staggering percentage, considering the availability of renewable energy sources in the Caribbean. From Jamacia in the north to Guyana in the south, every Island is blessed with an abundance of either Solar, Wind, Geothermal or Hydro sources and sometimes even all four. So what is the problem? Money. The Inter-America Development Bank has, for example, provided $70 million to Barbados for the development of renewable projects, and approved a $20 million loan for Jamaica to design and implement investment measures in energy efficiency, for the public sector. Efforts like these and initiatives like the 2016 Paris agreement are, twinkling glimmers of hope.

Individually more and more Caribbean territories are venturing into the field of renewable energy. The Grenadian government has changed the land scape of their energy sector. On the 31st of May 2016, after almost four hours of heated debate, the Parliament approved the electricity supply Act. The new bill is intended to regulate the energy sector and to provide a platform for investments in renewable energy. In an article published in 2013 by renewableenergyworld.com, it reveals that the major hindrance of the renewable energy sector in the Caribbean is a lack of appropriate, consistent regulatory framework, and together the Caribbean territories are addressing this.

Sweeping the entire Caribbean, the Wave of renewable energy is here, encouraging a new concept on energy production. The entire Caribbean is now thinking: cheaper, cleaner, and more assessable energy. On July 6, 2017, at the Thirty-Eighth Regular Meeting of CARICOM held in Grenada, a new page was turned. The countries signed the agreement that officially established the Caribbean Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE).

Taking a community approach to renewable energy, the center aims at improving access to modern, affordable and reliable energy services while improving energy security, by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in the Caribbean. A Commendable effort. However, I would advocate a pace of urgency. The importance of embracing and mastering renewable energy cannot be over stated, time is of the essence, and this revolution will wait on no country, organization or man.

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