Hannah Olmberg-Soesman is 2017 Caribbean Energy Personality
Surinamese Hannah Olmberg-Soesman has won the Caribbean Energy Personality Award for 2017. The announcement was made on Wednesday during the opening ceremony of the CARICOM Electromobility Workshop and Electric Vehicle Expo being held in Barbados.
With this Award, the CARICOM Secretariat has recognised this dynamic entrepreneur’s role in introducing off-grid solar systems to remote villages in Suriname. The use of the solar systems has opened up possibilities for better school education, medical care and small-scale business in those communities, while eliminating the negative environmental impacts and the high cost of running and maintaining diesel-powered generators.
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The panel of judges assembled by the CARICOM Secretariat considered seven nominations. The outstanding individuals are all leading the search for a Caribbean future in which sustainable and affordable energy is accessible to all. Through their work, they are demonstrating on a daily basis that such a future is possible.
The achievements of Hannah Olmberg-Soesman and the other nominees highlight in particular the important role that civil society organisations play in raising awareness, as illustrated by the work of Jonathan Barcant of the IAMovement and of Adrian Thomas of RE-New Caribe, both of Trinidad and Tobago.
Some of the nominees were also praised for their ability to spearhead large-scale investments in renewable energy, as in the case of Angella Rainford’s work in Jamaica, and of encouraging businesses to embrace cutting-edge solar energy, as in the case of Joshua Hunte in Barbados.
In all cases, the nominees were selected because of their pioneering role in their respective countries and communities. Nominee Ruth Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda providing a good example of a committed advocate who promotes the use of renewable energy at household, community and national levels.
In interviews that followed the receipt of their nominations, all nominees highlighted the importance of education and training, something that nominee Indra Haracksingh of Trinidad and Tobago is well aware of, having created a university programme dedicated to renewable energy technologies.
The Energy Personality Award is one of three regional competitions organised by the CARICOM Secretariat as part of the CARICOM Energy Month in November 2017. The other prizes awarded went to 11-year old Grenadian Naomi Allard as the Region’s Young Energy Artist, and to Guyanese Sasha Woodroffe, Tobagonian Kiziah Soverall and Saint Lucian Ariel Albert for their winning submissions to the three Energy Month Youth Essay Competitions.