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Caribbean needs to do more to stimulate demand in renewable energy- Caricom official


The Caribbean needs to do much more to stimulate mass interest in renewable energy sources to help create a market for those technologies and reduce the cost- something the IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest is expected to do, officials said Tuesday.

Programme Manager for Energy at the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (Caricom) Headquarters, Joseph Williams said the region was yet to address the gap of creating demand and interest in newer technologies that use wind or solar energy.

“I think there’s a gap there so I’ll tell you right up front that we are not there yet. The average person in the street will find a lot of the renewable technological options quite expensive,” he said.

He explained that key inputs in a regional renewable energy strategy that would involve and benefit the wider public at a lower cost must include special financing facilities, technical assistance and public awareness over the next two years.

“First of all, they have to be aware that this is a better way to go,” he said… “That has to be an effort led by the top, it has to be an effort led by the governments,” he added.

While Caribbean governments appear keen on pursuing a low carbon strategy, the Caricom official, he said ultimately newer technologies must not see members of the public digging deeper into their pockets.

“Once the demand starts to build and people start to make the kind of requests for these technologies, then there are going to be business opportunities and then now it’s a question of the governments putting in place the incentives to support the cleaner technologies and the market is what’s going to make it happen,”  he said.

The Caribbean Regional Sustainable Energy Road Map and Strategy has already examined the needs and gaps that are to be filled with assistance from International Development Partners and Caricom member-states.

The IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest offers a US$200,000 grant, technical assistance, business advice and access to financiers and policy makers to help them grow their businesses.

“We are expecting projects chosen to show that they can generate a positive rate of return on the investment we make, in benefits like carbon savings or jobs created,” said British High Commissioner to Guyana, Andrew Ayre.

He explained that in fact one of the objectives is to develop successful clean-energy ventures that would over time generate demand and contribute to development of local markets and sustainable supplies of renewable energy.

Category/ies:Regional News.
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