Energy action needed now
A TOP OFFICIAL of the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) says he has high hopes for today’s Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) in Barbados.
“I hope that out of this meeting that we get consensus on the need for a comprehensive strategy for energy supply and development in the region, based on the renewables,” said Albert Ramdin, the OAS assistant secretary general.
He told the DAILY NATION that given the uncertainty of international energy prices and dwindling supplies of fossil fuels, the Caribbean could not afford to pay lip service to renewable energy development.
“It cannot remain an intention. We need to go from words to action, and this is what our message is: Let’s stop talking. We know what we need to do. Let’s act, let’s do.
“That means allocation of resources, making it a higher policy priority and putting more personnel on it.”
Ramdin stressed that the level of commitment needed was not only political but also economic.
“We need resources to be allocated – human resources as well as financial – and then from the international community, in this case the OAS, we can promise that we will assist countries in terms of technical assistance – help design projects, policymaking, updating legislation and all of those things,” he said.
Ramdin praised Barbados for its strides thus far in tapping into solar energy. He also noted that Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis had been pursuing geothermal energy, Belize biomass, Guyana wind energy and Suriname hydropower.
However, he urged greater investment in the sector “whether it is energy-saving programmes, changing your light bulbs into more long-term, functioning light bulbs or school programmes on how to save energy”.
Ramdin also underscored the need for regional cooperation, saying, “the matter of our energy supply is key to the stability of the region”.