BRIDGETOWN: Caribbean states are set to receive assistance for their sustainable energy programs and developing renewable energy resources.
Last week, the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) was inaugurated in Barbados to act as the coordinating regional hub and think tank for sustainable energy issues and activities.
Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Barbados’ Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, said the centre would also promote a low carbon economy, reduce dependence on imported fuels and increase their resilience to climate change.
However, he said that it will not be a panacea for the challenges faced by the region.
“The harsh reality is that with the exception of Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean countries import 90 per cent of our energy which, because of our reliance on oil, and the volatility in the international oil market, limits our competitiveness as a region and acts as a brake on economic growth,” said Stuart. “For Barbados, this equates to over BDS$700 million (US$350 million) per annum. We in the Caribbean region are painfully aware of these limitations, for every day we bear the burden of being susceptible to the vagaries of international oil prices, being net importers of petroleum products.”
With 20 per cent of the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) being spent on petroleum imports, the CARICOM Chairman said it was necessary to deal with the challenges of petroleum-based economies in a holistic way.
“This facility will contribute to the global 2030 objectives of the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) Initiative, and will assist both in improving energy security and in mitigation of the negative externalities of regional energy systems,” said Stuart.