Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Julian Robinson, will be Jamaica’s representative at a renewable energy Summit, which will be held in the Republic of Malta, from September 6-7
The two-day meeting, dubbed Renewables and Islands Global Summit, is being hosted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
One of the objectives of the Summit is to encourage and get 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.
The State Minister told JIS News that Government has its own goal, explaining that the goal is for 30 per cent of Jamaica’s energy mix to be driven by renewable energy by the year 2030.
“So, we’re going to see if there are areas of technical assistance that we can obtain from other countries or international development agencies that provide support in this area, as well as sourcing (from international funding agencies or donor countries) renewable energy equipment and technology that is required to move the sector forward,” Mr. Robinson said.
The year 2030 is of particular significance as the country has produced a document, Vision 2030 Jamaica, the first long-term national development plan, which aims at enabling the island to achieve developed country status by that year. It is based on a comprehensive vision: “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, works, raise families and do business.”
The State Minister said Jamaica’s team will be going with an open mind, and will use the opportunity to network, lobby and interact with global partners to see what benefits the country can derive from this meeting.
Mr. Robinson pointed out that Jamaica’s Energy Policy, of which renewables are a critical component, will be up for discussion.
“So, we intend to share our own experiences, to learn from other countries how they have gone about it. Some are already ahead of us and some are behind. We will also use the opportunity to examine some of the challenges we face, including costs,” the State Minister told JIS News.
Mr. Robinson will leave the island on September 4.