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Energy Efficiency Workshop focuses on sustainability through renewable energy

About 50 small businesspeople and consultants took part in a free one-day workshop on energy efficiency in Nassau on March 16 staged by the private sector arm of the Inter-American Development Bank.

The workshop was part of the GREENPYME programme launched last year by the Inter-American Investment Corporation, which provides financing and advisory services to businesses throughout the region.

GREENPYME was set up to provide know-how, tools, and technical and financial support for implementing energy efficiency measures and clean technologies to help small and medium sized enterprises become more competitive.

The programme is funding activities carried out in conjunction with local strategic partners, including commercial banks, universities, and business groups. The goal is to foster sustainability through energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Co-sponsored by RBC Royal Bank of Canada and the Bahamas Hotel Association, the workshop was held at the British Colonial Hilton. Similar workshops have been held in Trinidad, Jamaica and Belize since the programme got underway last November.

“SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean still consume a large amount of high-cost energy inefficiently (which) can be key to business viability,” said an IIC spokesman. “This programme will enable these enterprises to become more sustainable while cutting their energy costs and improving their environmental profile.”

Enterprises participating in GREENPYME may receive help for energy audits, consultant reports, and technical assessments. They may also get access to financing from the IIC or its local partners for clean energy projects.

The featured speaker at the workshop was Pierre Langlois, president of Econoler International, a Canadian energy service firm that specialises in green building codes, power demand management and clean energy financing mechanisms.

“Most people don’t know what their energy costs are,” he told the workshop. “So those costs are not managed. But improvements in energy efficiency can easily achieve a savings of 15 per cent, and 30 per cent is feasible. And whatever savings you achieve will only grow as energy costs rise over time, whereas if don’t do it you lose those savings forever.”

Until recently, renewable energy and energy efficiency were media buzzwords. But the drop in oil prices due to the global economic recession has lowered the intensity of public interest, while at the same time giving a much-needed financial boost to oil-consuming countries like the Bahamas.

According to Royal Bank of Canada small business manager Jerome Pinder this development had given Bahamians some breathing room to make long overdue changes to the way we produce and use energy throughout our economy.

“This workshop is the start of that in the Bahamas, and Royal Bank of Canada is pleased to be able to contribute to an initiative that we hope will produce some very important business spin-offs. The success of our clients – which includes many of the small enterprises represented here today, as well as the government of the Bahamas – is key to our own success.”

He said RBC had included energy efficiency criteria to its worldwide procurement policy and was committed to the support of environmental products, services and business opportunities.

According to the workshop organisers, an estimated $156 trillion could be saved throughout the region simply by pursuing energy efficiency measures.


Category/ies:Bahamas News.
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