Minister of State for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Julian Robinson, will convene a special meeting of Caribbean representatives attending the renewable energy summit in Malta on September 7, 2012 to discuss measures to access financing for energy projects.
Mr. Robinson, who spoke to JIS News from Malta on September 6, said the meeting will examine how CARICOM, as a regional bloc of countries, can interact with entities like the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to source assistance, grants, and other financial instruments “to facilitate joined-up projects rather than compete head on for instruments from the same global financial pie”.
He said that invariably, many of the smaller, poorer countries lose out to the larger and better resourced ones when trying to source financial assistance. “We need to be more collaborative, more strategic and savvy...so I’m reaching out to them. So far, they seem interested to meet,” he stated.
The two-day summit, dubbed: ‘Renewables and Islands Global Summit’, is being hosted by IRENA. One of the objectives of the meeting is to encourage small developing states, such as Jamaica, to increase their use of renewable energy sources in the overall mix of energy consumption.
This takes on added significance for Jamaica as currently, about 90 per cent of the island’s energy is derived from the importation of heavy fuel oils. Mr. Robinson has pointed out that in 2011 over $191 billion was spent importing oil for the country’s energy needs.
"That is more than the total of all our exports, so it’s critical from an economical perspective that we diversify and look at renewable energy sources. So, the Summit will look at approaches that small developing countries can take to enhance their renewable energy supplies,” he said.