From: Katie Auth and Evan Musolino, Worldwatch Institute, More from this Affiliate
Published March 8, 2013 01:24 PM

Caribbean Nations Take Control of Their Collective Energy Future

In the face of the many challenges inherent in getting 15 countries—each with their own resources, priorities, and political complexities—to agree to anything, let alone a comprehensive regional energy policy, the Caribbean is now on the brink of taking a significant (and impressive) step forward. For the past half decade, a Draft Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Energy Policy—designed to address critical issues like energy security, affordability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy—has been circulating among CARICOM's 15 member states, continually being revised to reflect the concerns of individual members, but never finalized.

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Last week, a team from Worldwatch joined CARICOM Prime Ministers, Energy Ministers, government representatives, technical experts, and international organizations in Trinidad & Tobago for the Forty-First Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED). On March 1, after more than five years of lengthy deliberation, delegates at the event provisionally adopted both the Draft Energy Policy and Worldwatch’s Sustainable Energy Targets for the region, marking an important step forward in the development of renewable energy and energy cooperation in the Caribbean.

Since September 2012, Worldwatch has been working with the support of both the CARICOM Secretariat and the Inter-American Development Bank on the first phase of developing a strategic framework to support the region's Energy Policy: the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS). Through an initial analysis of electricity sectors throughout the region, existing national renewable energy targets, and documented renewable energy potentials, Worldwatch designed a set of recommendations for sustainable energy targets in the region's power sector intended to provide a vision for the future that places renewable energy sources at the core.

Over the coming weeks, the targets will be refined and expanded to include energy efficiency measures and the potential impacts of both renewable energy and energy efficiency in the transportation sector, one of the region's largest energy consumers.

CARICOM is composed of 13 small island states arcing across the Greater and Lesser Antilles and three low-lying coastal states, representing a total population of more than 15 million people. In the context of climate change and its wide ranging impacts, such countries are frequently described as "vulnerable," in terms of both the specific threats posed to them by climate-related sea-level rise and other hazards, and the economic vulnerability that often limits the ability of these states to finance important adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Continue reading at Worldwatch Institute.

Caribbean image via Shutterstock.

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