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Focus on energy

15 Caribbean energy ministers and the leaders of some big power companies will be taking part in an October 12 to 14 major energy conference being hosted by Barbados.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is to give the keynote address at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) 2011 being billed by organizers as “the biggest and most influential gathering of renewable energy stakeholders in the Caribbean”.

Details of the meeting, to be held at Hilton Barbados, were released on Tuesday by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Energy Senator Darcy Boyce and CREF consultant Jerry Butler during a Press briefing at Government Headquarters, Bay Street, St Michael.

Butler said the meeting would discuss such issues as the way forward in renewable energy, project financing, regulation of utilities and best practices.

At least 225 people have confirmed attendance, among them ministers of energy, financiers, investors and officials of power companies including Emera’s Wayne Crawley, the president and chief executive officer of Caribbean operations, and Bob Blanchard, the president and chairman of WRB Enterprises.

Jamaica’s Minister of Energy and Mining Clive Mullings; Cayman Islands Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly; Bermuda’s Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Walter H. Roban; Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock; and Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert R. Ramdin, are among those listed to attend.

Butler said the meeting was more than a chance for Barbados to update itself on what was going on in the world of renewable energy; there would be opportunities for getting projects bankrolled and also for local businesses to partner with others in the field of renewable energy.

He said the possibilities in the field of renewable energy had been highlighted by the case of the Dominican Republic, which had signed US$300 million worth of wind energy deals in recent months.

The conference will deal with “everything you can think of” in the field of renewable energy that has been tried and tested or was on the cards, he told reporters.

Boyce said Barbados was looking to the conference for some ideas on how it could go forward in its own renewable energy thrust. He said Government was launching several initiatives to reduce the use of fossil fuels as well as to become more energy-efficient and was interested in how to “do it right”.

The Barbados Government and Emera are listed as sponsors of CREF. Last year’s meeting in The Bahamas had 307 participants from 37 countries. Eleven Caribbean government ministers took part in that meeting.

The October meeting is set against the backdrop of high world oil prices and electricity bills trending higher. (TY)


Category/ies:Barbados News.
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