Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Dr. Carla Barnett, on Wednesday, highlighted the importance of energy security in an address to a regional event.
She spoke at the Caribbean Energies and Investment Summit in Barbados.
Barnett declared that energy is the lifeblood of modern society, fuelling social well-being and economic stability.
But she noted the high cost of energy, dependence on fossil fuels, and susceptibility to climate hazards.
The CARICOM Secretary-General observed that those factors have made it necessary to rethink the approach to energy generation, distribution, and consumption.
“We have seen at first-hand the devastating effects of hurricanes and other natural disasters on our energy infrastructure,” Barnett stated.
“Boosting energy security calls for us to invest in resilient and decentralised energy systems, which incorporate renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower, along with microgrids and energy storage solutions,” she noted.
The CARICOM official explained that by reducing reliance on centralised grids, the region could help to ensure that even when disasters unfold, its communities have electricity.
“The implementation of clean and renewable energy sources, along with modern smart grids, can significantly improve the reliability of our energy systems,” Barnett observed.
She also asserted that transitioning to sustainable energy sources can help to reduce energy costs.
“Investments in clean energy technologies can lead to lower electricity bills for consumers and reduce the financial and emotional burden on the most vulnerable members of our communities,” Barnett noted.
She explained that CARICOM has committed to a regional Energy Programme prioritising the transition to sustainable energy.
“There is a need to adopt and use more efficient, clean and renewable energy technologies to drive economic growth, but actually doing this requires the supply of equipment and technology – technology that is not always readily available to markets in the Caribbean,” Barnett told her audience.
“The hope is that the increase in the global supply of clean energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency technologies will lead to significant reductions in prices, increased competitiveness, and will help to increase our access to the newer, most efficient technologies, not the older less efficient technologies that developed markets are leaving behind,” Barnett said