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Government Enlists APUA To Monitor Energy Consumption Of Ministries

A directive has been sent from the Office of the Prime Minister to the various government ministries for “non-essential” lights to be turned off in buildings at sunset, as the government seeks to devise ways and means of reducing the country’s dependence on energy from fossil fuels.

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, who has responsibility for energy, made the announcement in a televised speech, which was broadcast at the National Sustainable Energy Consultation at the Multipurpose Cultural Centre yesterday.

“The Office of the Prime Minister has dispatched a minute to all permanent secretaries, requiring them to ensure that all non-essential lights, in every single government building and structure including the Car Park, be turned off after sunset,” the PM said. “I am also tasking APUA to monitor the impact of this measure and to provide a monthly report disaggregated by the ministry on the government’s consumption of electricity.”

He added, “This will translate into a report card on the energy conservation and efficiency of the various ministries.”

PM Spencer also charged that public-sector workers should identify possible energy-saving methods and forward the recommendations to their supervisors. The PM placed the mandate on the National Energy Task Force to “develop a framework for a competition, so that we can see which ministry will record the greatest savings during the course of this fiscal year.”

He underscored that reducing the island’s dependency on fossil fuels will, in turn, help to lower electricity costs and mitigate the level of impact Antigua & Barbuda has on climate change.

During the consultation, which was held by the Office of the Prime Minister in partnership with the Organisation of American States (OAS), Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), the Caricom Secretariat and the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC), with the support from the European Commission – local, regional and international stakeholders outlined the various roles they are playing in the development of the National Sustainable Energy Plan.

Students from St Joseph’s Academy and members of the public also sat in on the forum and were later given the opportunity to table their suggestions.

Chief Implementation Officer Ambassador Joan Underwood said the goals of developing such a policy are to reduce the cost of energy; for the diversification and efficient use of energy sources; for electricity reliability (less power cuts); environmental protection; and the stimulation of new economic activity.

Meanwhile, the Organization of American States (OAS) Representative in the Office of the OAS in Antigua & Barbuda, Cecily Norris, highlighted the importance of a collaborative effort being formed between all stakeholders, both private and public sector, on the island.

She identified the major energy challenges facing the nation as being the great dependency on fossil fuels and the high fossil fuel importation bill. Norris noted that the OAS developed the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Program (CSEP) to aid seven countries in the region in the development of their national energy plan.

Furthermore, representative from Caricom’s Energy Programme, Joseph Williams, said that developing alternative energy sources will help to create new business opportunities on the island.

Noting that the creation of the local policy is well on its way, Williams said: “All the important pieces that should make a success are complete because there is commitment at the highest level.”

The OAS’ climate change representative, Mark Lambrides, meantime, said the CSEP delegation has done work for a year since the 36-month project began. Over the next two years, he said, the team will help in the development and implementation of the plan.

According to Lambrides, the island’s “abundant sunshine,” wind, and waste material can be used as alternative energy sources.

He added that some of the viable options to reduce the current energy bill include using public transportation rather than a personal vehicle; driving hybrid vehicles; establishing electricity regulations; and developing energy efficiency incentives.

Weighing in on the issue-at-hand, Chairman of the National Energy Task Force, Edward “Eddie” Baynes, suggested that each business and household should try to use energy-efficient light bulbs and consider solar-water heating systems as opposed to electric systems.

Speaking on the possible collaboration between Antigua & Barbuda with Nevis for its geothermal energy, he said the task force will have to explore the details to determine the feasibility of the option.

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Category/ies:Antigua & Barbuda News, Energy Efficiency, News, Renewable Energy, Waste to Energy, Wind energy.
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