Two Major Leaps Towards a Climate Resilient, Emission-Free Antigua and Barbuda
By Julian Maynard
(Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) Having completed my Master of Science Degree in Renewable Energy Management in 2016, it was my great desire to contribute towards the research and development of alternative forms of energy throughout the Caribbean region. Therefore, I applied to the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) for the 2020 internship programme as I saw it as a pathway to fulfilling this desire. My application was successful. A range of emotions particularly joy and happiness, overcame me as I knew this opportunity would have allowed me to gain valuable experiences, such as interacting with CARICOM nationals who work in developing the energy sector. Also, I looked forward to seeing and experiencing the different roles that stakeholders play in certain companies and to observe working life in this field from different perspectives.
However, the eight-week internship programme proved to be more challenging than I expected. These challenges were also compounded by the current health crisis the world is facing, with countries adopting COVID-19 restrictions and measures. Interactions with persons were mainly through virtual means and very little face to face interactions were possible. This was one of the negatives of conducting the programme at this time as the opportunity for networking and engaging with stakeholders in the energy sector would not be fully utilised. However, I leaped on and was still able to gain great insight on the sector and developments from those I interacted with.
I came across many developments occurring in Antigua and Barbuda as it relates to sustainable energy. However, two really captured my attention. The first being the tremendous work of the Department of Environment in securing 32.7 million US dollars in grant funding from the Green Climate Fund. These funds will be distributed over a six-year period and used in three phases. One phase involves creating / designing climate resilient government buildings which will incorporate the use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. Another phase will include the training of persons in renewable energy insulations and various renewable energy technology. The utilization of the Green Climate Fund will aid in a climate resilient country.