Region has historic opportunity to transition to clean energy systems – CARICOM ASG

Assistant Secretary-General Joseph Cox addresses the High Level Breakfast Meeting (CCREEE)

The emerging global circumstances provide the Region with an historic opportunity to transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to one powered by clean energy systems, according to Mr. Joseph Cox, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General.

Mr. Cox, who holds responsibility for Economic Integration, Innovation and Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, is encouraging the Region to embrace the opportunities to “exploit renewable energy sources, redouble our commitment to driving energy efficiency, maintain our focus on climate change mitigation and the construct of resilient systems in the Region and execute with dispatch.”

He made the points during a High-Level Stakeholder Engagement on Project Preparation and Financing for Renewable Energy that the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) hosted on 27 April in Miami, Florida.

Assistant Secretary-General Cox outlined the emerging scenario that included geo-political events; increases in the prices of energy and commodities; transitioning from the pandemic; and access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy services.

He said the clean energy systems to which the region must transition, had to exhibit flexibility, redundancy, robustness, resourcefulness, inclusiveness and integration into all aspects of the designs and functions of the architecture.

“Indeed, it is no longer a normative ideal but an absolute imperative that the Region transitions from a current state of dependence on extremely volatile, frequently expensive, and mostly external oil supplies to a desired future wherein energy, which is secure in pricing and supply, is reliably and efficiently delivered and used through the accelerated integration of indigenous renewable energy sources coupled with energy efficiency measures,” Mr. Cox said.

The Engagement was a follow up to one that CCREEE held last year on energy financing, and was intended to share information among participants that included representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat, CCREEE, International Financial Institutions, International Development Partners, explore opportunities and agree on the way forward to fast-track investment that is needed urgently to make the transition possible.

Mr. Cox pointed out that financing the transition – estimated to be US$11B – was a challenge, and alluded to the Energy Financing forum held last year that had highlighted investment proposals for 37 utility-scale low-carbon electricity generation projects. The projects were proposed across eleven (11) Member States and valued at some US$4.5B.

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