Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr. David Estwick as he addressed hundreds of??participants??on day one of the Central Bank of Barbados Alternative Energy Seminar.

A Government Minister is calling on Barbados’ tertiary institutions to restructure their curricula to include courses in alternative energy.

Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, made this appeal recently, while addressing a Government and Central Bank two-day seminar on Alternative Energy: Pathway to a Sustainable Future in Barbados yesterday.?? It was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Dr. Estwick said such a transformation was necessary to equip students with the skills to deal with the challenges posed by an over-reliance on fossil fuels. "It is therefore imperative that we implement policies to encourage innovations that promote human development through the sustainable use of available resources. The challenge for us present today, is to develop the environment and culture for our people to expand their expertise and build their confidence, to identify solutions to these problems," he said.

The Economic Affairs Minister added: "In the developed countries, for example, private sector investment in research and development, accounts for about 50-60 per cent of research in all sectors. The same is not true for developing countries where only about 10 per cent is invested.?? In the Caribbean, the investment is somewhere in the region of one to two per cent.

He cautioned technocrats to pursue activities that are: "environmentally friendly, innovative and creative", since harnessing renewable energy sources through the provision of cleaner, more affordable and reliable technologies, could reduce Barbados’ dependence on fossil fuels. "These technologies, together with more traditional energy alternatives such as wind and biofuel applications, must be exploited to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels," said Dr. Estwick.

Meanwhile, Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Delisle Worrell, intimated that the island was now closer to tapping into the available alternative energy sources.?? "At long last, we are coming in sight of practical, implementable options for alternative energy. We have all caught the sense of excitement that comes with being on the cusp of new possibilities which are within reach."

He revealed plans to establish an ongoing network to track the progress towards accessing and implementing the available alternative energy technologies. These objectives, he added, would be included in a soon to be launched website at http://www.aen.bb/.

Dr. Worrell said the new website would provide up-to-date information on alternative energy; develop a framework for periodic monitoring of progress in the implementation of alternative energy programmes; stimulate and support the dissemination of public information on alternative energy and bring providers and users together to advocate for policies and programmes in alternative energy.??jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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