Published On: Thu, Dec 12th, 2013

Energy information, management in focus in Jamaica

CaricomCARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana - Energy sector officials are meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, this week to chart the way forward in energy information gathering and dissemination, management and planning.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the Latin American Energy Organisation (OLADE) are collaborating on the joint staging of the Regional Energy Information Forum held on Monday 9 December and a Workshop on Energy Balance and Planning Models that began on 10 December and will conclude on 12 December. The initiative is made possible through the funding support of the CARICOM – GIZ Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Project. It seeks to fulfill a mandate from the Forty-First Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Energy held in Trinidad and Tobago, in March 2013, for the establishment of harmonized tools for energy information management, energy planning and management in the Community.

Both the Forum and the Workshop are aimed at establishing a harmonized approach to energy information management in CARICOM for oil, gas, electricity and renewable energy.  They are also geared towards the implementation of OLADE's recommendations on energy statistics and methodology for preparing energy balances according to international standards.

The sessions which include representation from Member States and Regional Institutions, are being held against the background of the need to strengthen the capacity for producing timely data to inform policy decisions and changes in the Regional energy sector.

The feature address at the opening ceremony of the workshops was delivered by Mrs. Hillary Alexander, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Jamaica on behalf of the Hon. Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Jamaica. She highlighted the need for indigenous technologies for SIDS that actually result in the “reduction in the cost of electricity”, and emphasized the need to “seminally change how we do business, including how collect, analyse and share data.”

Other remarks were given by Mr. Gabriel Hernandez, Energy Information Management and Training Coordinator, OLADE; His Excellency Josef Beck, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Jamaica; and Mr. Joseph Williams, Programme Manager, Energy, CARICOM Secretariat.

According to Ambassador Beck, there could be no doubt that a “sustainable, affordable and environmentally friendly energy supply is of utmost importance for all of us but even more for the countries in the Caribbean Region. That is why we see a special need to support our friends and partners in the Region.

For Mr. Hernandez, the training exercise would provide activities and tools to help build the capacity within countries to produce better information and so improve energy planning.

Mr. Williams stated that given the obvious direct link between energy and economic development, “it can be easily argued that the level of underdevelopment (even the level of debt) in many of the countries is directly linked to their adverse energy situations.”

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