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Alternative energy being promoted

Energy costs in the Caribbean are among the highest in the world. Some reports even suggest that the energy costs in this region are actually the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

This, says Peter Murray of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat, necessitates that regional countries adopt a more aggressive approach to secure alternative, cheaper and renewable forms of energy for commercial and domestic usage.

His comments came as he spoke at a recent meeting held in Barbados, to launch a set of regional energy initiatives.

Murray said that with the global world prices on a steady rise again, increases being reflected in monthly price hikes at the pump and consumers becoming much more aware of the implications of the increases and, by extension, “feeling the pinch”, we can no longer assume a “business as usual approach”.

Heralding the proposed regional energy initiatives as a milestone for the region, he said it will be a step towards speeding up the lethargic pace of change that has been taking place regionally.

Also speaking at that meeting, Senator Darcy Boyce, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for energy and telecommunications, noted that the region, like the world, has come full circle in terms of the use of sustainable energy. However, he lamented that the efforts to bring about this diversification through sustainable energy development, has not had the level of sustainability that is really required.

“…We all recognise that we face common problems in the form of high dependency on imported oil products for power generation, which are subject to increasing price volatility. We all recognise that the competitiveness of the region is severely impacted by the volatility of the international pricing of oil. We all face common problems of high electricity tariffs which are some of the highest in the world. We also note the energy-intensive inputs and dependency for the development and sustainability of our societies. Many of our societies, as you know, are very heavily dependent on tourism and that is a highly energy-intensive business,” he said.

Pointing out that the price of oil is again trending upwards having now reached the US$90 per barrel mark and market analysts projecting that it could reach US$100 before the end of this year, he maintained that that sustainable energy development is critical to future economic growth of the region.

“…If we are to reposition ourselves as important players in the global economy, we must seriously address the use of indigenous sustainable energy resources, with a view to diversifying the region’s energy mix and with a view to reducing the volatility of energy costs in the region.

“There must be a commitment to a focused objective for the greater utilisation of renewable energy. Governments will have to offer bold packages of fiscal incentives, promote a local and regional entrepreneurial spirit and encourage an investment climate that makes appropriate levels of resources available for renewable energy projects,” he said. (JRT)

Source: Barbados Advocate

Category/ies:Regional News.
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