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July 18th, 2013
Caribbean Community Maps Out Renewable Energy Plan

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The Worldwatch Institute is assisting the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in developing a Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) to provide a more strategic approach to implementing renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in the region. The overall goals are to address the inadequate energy security of most CARICOM member states and to establish them as climate-compatible economies through greater diversification of the energy supply away from heavy dependence on imported petroleum products and toward smarter, more-sustainable energy technologies.

On Thursday, CARICOM hosted the C-SERMS Resource Mobilisation Forum, with support from the Inter-American Development Bank and the Government of Germany, in Christ Church, Barbados. The aim of the forum, which included key participation from Worldwatch, was to share information among various energy-sector stakeholders and to garner funding support, technical assistance, and commitments toward further development and implementation of identified initiatives, programs, and projects.

“CARICOM, as just the third regional community in the world after ASEAN and the European Union, and its member states, has now committed to ambitious renewable energy goals, raising the targeted share for renewables from only 8 percent currently to 20 percent, 28 percent, and 47 percent by the years 2017, 2022, and 2027, respectively,” said Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy at Worldwatch and the Institute’s lead person for the C-SERMS project. “Through our forthcoming report for CARICOM, Worldwatch is proud to have helped build the methodology behind, and the consensus on, these targets.”

In addition to informing the CARICOM targets, the Worldwatch report, to be released this month, identifies important information gaps and capacity needs that stand in the way of developing a more concise sustainable energy strategy for the region, and suggests high-impact areas ways that CARICOM can support and coordinate national actions.

“It is now up to member states to make the targets a reality through political and financial reform,” said Ochs. “From an economic, social, and environmental perspective, the energy transition envisioned in our report is the only viable path forward.”

At Thursday’s forum, Ochs and other members of the Worldwatch team highlighted significant regional initiatives, with CARICOM at the helm, as well as such that member states can commit to as “next steps” in the transition to an energy sector that is less reliant on costly and damaging fossil fuels.
“With the initial sustainable energy roadmap established through the various targets, and the identification of critical next step actions, CARICOM now has the basis for a more strategic approach for advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region,” said Joseph Williams, manager of CARICOM’s Energy Program. “This historic step will go far in enhancing the commitments of member states toward achieving a transformed energy landscape. We note and welcome Worldwatch’s commitment to continue support of our move to a more affordable and more reliable energy future.”

“Our research shows that CARICOM states have the potential to be real leaders in the transition to sustainable energy solutions,” said Mark Konold, manager of Worldwatch’s Caribbean program. “However, it also shows that sizeable data gaps still exist and must be resolved so that CARICOM can begin executing the most dynamic and well-defined strategy possible.”

Worldwatch’s Climate and Energy program identifies key components of energy and transportation systems that de-carbonize our economies, boost energy efficiency, spur innovation and job creation, address resource scarcity, and reduce local environmental pollution. Learn more about the Institute’s work from the reports Sustainable Energy Roadmaps: Guiding the Global Shift to Domestic Renewables and the recently released The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Central America.

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