The Caribbean region is particularly vulnerable to external shocks due to its scattered insularity, the impact of climate change and high energy costs. Despite the significant availability of domestic renewable energy resources, the region remains highly dependent on imported fossil fuels, which exposes it to volatile oil prices, poses an additional burden to highly indebted countries and limits economic development.
Transition to clean, affordable and efficient modern energy services is a cornerstone for sustainable development in the Caribbean region. By acting on the major renewable energy potential through a conducive regulatory environment and an integrated market, with the support of the
European Union (EU), the Caribbean can assume a leading role in the global effort to combat climate change, in line with the commitments taken in Paris at COP21 and with the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development.
The first ever Sustainable Energy Conference organized jointly by European Union and CARIFORUM was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Convention Center in Barbados, October 10-11, 2016. The main outcome of the conference was the signing of a “Joint Declaration between the European Union and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) on reinforced cooperation in the field of sustainable energy” and the signature of five new support programmes in the renewable energy sector for the region, totalling EUR 54 million.
In addition, several presentations and panel discussions ensued on topics relating to energy policy and regulation; investment and financing; renewable energy and energy efficiency; and technology and innovation.
Honourable Stephenson King participated in a Ministerial panel discussion on Sustainable Energy Policies highlighting Saint Lucia’s policy and regulatory framework for the energy sector. Emanating from the National Energy Policy (2010), Saint Lucia has established the National Utility Regulatory Authority (NURC) together with the enabling legislation to regulate the energy sector for the new environment. This new environment will include the provision for renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal technologies for electricity generation.