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Educate yourselves on energy matters – Dacon

Educate yourselves on energy matters – Dacon

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CARICOM residents are being called upon to educate themselves on energy matters within the region, in order to facilitate sustainable development.

This past week was observed as CARICOM Energy Week, which was celebrated under the theme, “Achieving Climate and Economic Resilience through Sustainable Development.”{{more}}

During a ceremony held to mark the opening of the Week on Monday, director of the Energy Unit Ellsworth Dacon noted that as a region, all countries face certain challenges, which include high fuel importation bills, adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters and these challenges make sustainable development a challenging one.

According to Dacon, persons are still unaware of appropriate energy efficient appliances, still unaware of how to build an energy efficient building and persons continue to pay little attention to fuel efficiency in vehicles.

These are some of the reasons for CARICOM energy week, which will provide a platform for increased awareness on energy matters.

“We, as consumers, have a certain expectancy when it comes to electricity. We expect that when we hit that light switch, we see light instantly and when that occurs, we expect it not to flicker, and it must stay on until we decide to turn it off. At the end of the month, we expect it to be cheap. We expect reliability. We expect sustainability and it must be affordable. However, the harsh reality is that most times, cost, reliability and sustainability are not always affordable. Unless we are oil producing countries, fuel will not be cheap and therefore, if our current generation relies on fossil fuel, then electricity will be expensive,” the energy unit director said.

Dacon noted that in order to achieve sustainability, reliability and affordability to customers, governments and utility companies need to be able to work together.

Devon Gardner, programme manager of Energy at the CARICOM Secretariat, declared that the goal of all countries around the world is to achieve sustainable development.

“The single biggest threat to sustainable growth in any of the Caribbean countries, St Vincent no exception, is the cost of energy, the dependence of imported expensive energy. We are all dependent, some more than others, except for Trinidad and Tobago, on imported expensive energy supply,” he said.

“Our industries require affordable energy as critical inputs to compete, not just on the export market, but even internally because sometimes we, ourselves, buy the juice which is cheaper, because that’s what we can afford and in many instances, cheaper juices are from outside.”

Gardner stressed that in order for economies of CARICOM countries to compete, the issue of energy, its cost and price unpredictability must be addressed to ensure sustainable growth.

Activities of CARICOM Energy Week included media programmes; visits to selected secondary schools; the opening of the VINLEC solar PV installation at Lowmans Bay; a symposium with the Chamber of Commerce; and a National Energy Exhibition at the Methodist Church Hall, which began yesterday and will end today.(BK)

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