Energy Security High on Agenda of CELAC Meeting
Regional energy security is among the many issues to be discussed at the second meeting of the Ministers of Energy of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), on October 24 and 25.
The two-day meeting is scheduled to take place at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Montego Bay, St. James. Jamaica is the first English-speaking country chosen to host the meeting.
“It’s an indication of the leadership that the country has displayed on matters relating to energy from the formulation of an energy policy a number of years ago to very specific initiatives,” State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, told JIS News in an interview on the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Issues and Answers’ programme, on October 10.
The State Minister pointed out that the Government has set a target “of having 20 per cent of our energy generated by renewals by the year 2030.”
Additionally, he said the administration has embarked on a major energy efficient programme within the public sector, which should result in a 30 per cent cost saving over a three-year period. He also cited the just concluded selection of companies by the Office of Utilities Regulation to generate some 115 megawatts of electricity. “We are trying to replace our old generating plants,” he said.
Mr. Robinson said that Jamaica and other Caribbean countries face common challenges in finding cheaper ways to produce energy.
“We are heavily indebted countries. We spend significant amounts of money importing oil,” he pointed out, noting that Jamaica spent some US$2.25 billion importing oil last year, which accounted for 15 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.
The Sate Minister said the meeting is an opportunity for energy ministers of the Caribbean and Latin American community to “put the energy issues on the table,” and to explore how they can capitalise and utilise the resources that are in the region.
“We are very proud as a country to have been selected to host the meeting and we will continue to demonstrate our own leadership in driving an agenda, which ensures that the region is less dependent on oil and that we can find cheaper ways of driving our economies,” he said.