CDB President to lead discussions on energy policy and energy security at CREF
Regional policy makers will contemplate the alignment of policy to energy security on day two of the 2014 Caribbean Renewable Energy Conference which is set for October 6 - 8, 2014 at the Marriott Marquis in Miami. The conference is expected to assemble government and development partners to explore the prospects and praxis of alternative energy for the Caribbean. Dr. Warren Smith, President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), will chair the panel discussion: Aligning policy approach to energy security with the regional development of renewable energy. The panellists will explore sub topics such as: National vs regional energy policy: conflict or complement; How gas is re-shaping the policy approach to energy security and, Are strong, independent regulators the missing link? Along with Dr. Smith will be Senator the Honourable Darcy Boyce, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office - Barbados; Honourable Rayburn Blackmoore, Minister of Public Works, Energy and Ports - Dominica; Honourable Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining - Jamaica; Honourable Kendrid Dorset, Minister of Environment and Housing - Bahamas; and Ambassador Mikael Barfod, EU representative to Barbados the Eastern Caribbean. CDB has proffered that there is urgent need to change the legislative framework in Caribbean by altering the monopoly on generation where it exists. Legislation which protects monopolies obstructs the emergence of renewables as part of the energy mix. Additionally the framework needs to ensure equitable pricing for the provision of energy from independent suppliers or small, distributed renewable generators of electricity. The Bank has also called for an appropriate regulatory framework which ensures that equitable tariffs; and rules for optimal performance; which balance the interests of consumers, investors and governments are in place. Some countries have enacted legislation such as Jamaica and Barbados which has laws that support net billing. Other important developments in the region include the establishment of the Eastern Caribbean Energy Regulatory Authority and the adoption by CARICOM energy ministers as a feasible mechanism for ensuring equitable pricing. Reducing poverty through inclusive and sustainable social and economic growth, and building resilience to external shocks and natural hazard events underpin all of CDB's development financing and technical assistance to its Borrowing Member Countries. Within that broad framework, the Bank has been intensifying its focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Bank has established a Renewable Energy/ Energy Efficiency Unit to prepare a new Energy Sector Policy and Strategy as well as focus on developing new financing instruments for the sector. Relatedly, CDB has also published a study entitled "A New Paradigm for Caribbean Development: Transitioning to a Green Economy" which is available on the Bank's website. Through the Basic Needs Trust Fund, CDB has used renewable energy solutions to improve the quality of life of the poor by using solar photo voltaic components for lighting and pumping water to households in remote areas. Drawing on the expertise of CDB's Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services Network, a number of micro, small and medium enterprises have benefitted from energy audits to identify opportunities for improving energy efficiency. Financing for appropriate retrofitting of these enterprises has also been made available by CDB's through local financial intermediaries. CDB has also funded, through the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Secretariat, a programme of strategies for increasing awareness of the need for energy efficiency and to support the introduction of enabling legislative reform. The Bank is actively promoting a new Green Economy paradigm for sustainable growth, noting that renewable energy, coupled with energy efficiency, would create opportunities for the growth of new non-traditional businesses, lower electricity costs and boost foreign exchange reserves by reducing energy imports.