Utility Regulators Urged to Pay Close Attention to Impact of Climate Change
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, is urging utility regulators to pay close attention to the effects of climate change on the Caribbean region, as they seek to draft regulations to mitigate its impact.
Speaking at the 14th annual conference of the Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators (OOCUR) at the Secrets Resorts in Montego Bay, on October 28, Dr. Chang said climate change has brought with it global warming, and the response to that must be the use of solar energy to fuel not just the energy sector, but also to be an energy source for irrigation systems and for agro-industry.
“Our agriculture, tourism and housing sectors are threatened by the challenges of climate change. We have to devise strategies and plans that are smarter and more efficient. So, our governments are depending on you the regulators to assist us in developing and implementing sustainable policies,” he told the participants.
Dr. Chang, who has responsibility for Water, Works and Housing, said the Government’s push for economic growth must be met with attendant considerations for water security, and as the Minister with responsibility for the commodity, he is aware of the global challenges.
“Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and with the existing climate-change scenario, almost half the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chang pointed out that the National Water Commission (NWC) distributes more than 90 per cent of the potable water in the country and serves more than two million persons across our hills and valleys daily.
He added that the NWC is one of the country’s largest electricity consumers in Jamaica, paying out $450 million monthly to the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) to support the pumping and distribution of water to more than 1,000 electricity-dependent locations throughout the island.
Dr. Chang said that recently, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the NWC for the provision of grant funding of approximately US$1.1 million towards technical assistance for the NWC’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Project.
“This initiative is aimed at supporting the efforts of the NWC to develop commercially viable energy efficiency and renewable energy projects as part of its Energy Management Policy and Action Plan,” Dr. Chang stated.
He added that as a region, the authorities must institute sound policies and regulations that will attract partnerships from the international community and to encourage behaviours among people to safeguard water resources for future generations.
“We must not only enact, but also enforce legislation that regulate proper water usage. As a government, we in Jamaica understand that development is not an event, it is a process. This process must be based on sensible planning and strong institutions that are transparent and credible,” the Minister argued.
“Therefore, the legal and regulatory framework must be efficient in all areas. It is on this basis that we will develop a growing economy and ensure the development and prosperity of our people,” he added.
Category/ies:Energy Efficiency, Jamaica News, News, Renewable Energy.
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