Youth representative from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Aria Laidlow, has underscored the importance of youth engagement in matters pertaining to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Ms. Laidlow made the comments today at the virtual launch of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency’s (CCREEE) public sector stream of the Project Preparation Facility (PPF).
She, along with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Francine Blackman, and several others participated in a roundtable discussion under the theme: The Energy and Climate Nexus: Meeting Targets and Goals through Project Development.
Ms. Laidlow said it was important to engage young people in these discussions at an earlier stage. She continued: “Young people represent a large workforce, a large section of our population, who can really drive this transition….
“I think it is important for us to not only facilitate and engage them in forums like these, but it is also important to give them a seat at the table…. It is important for them to be at the initial stage; let them have that space and the power to craft policies and not just at the regional level… but at the national level,” she stated.
The youth representative stressed that young people liked information to be communicated to them in a way that was interesting and understandable, so they could see how renewable energy and energy efficiency were integrated into their everyday life.
She pointed out that it was necessary to look at how renewable energy and energy efficiency could be integrated into a multi-hazardous environment.
Permanent Secretary Blackman said it was recognised back in 2008 that Barbados needed to move to the next step because of increasing oil prices. She added that Government made a decision to transition and use more natural resources.
At that time, she explained, the energy policy was still fairly conservative. However, she noted that the current Government has embraced going for the 100 per cent renewables and that is the island’s current track.
“Since then, the policy reflects that. We have an implementation plan and we have done a number of projects in Barbados to support the transition. Initially, it was to demonstrate to the private sector that moving to renewables is a viable option and we now have buy-in from the private sector,” she pointed out.
The other panelists were Coordinator of Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency at CDB, Joseph Williams; CEO of Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica, Francine Baron and General Manager of St. Kitts Electric Company, Clement Williams. It was moderated by Executive Director of CCREEE, Gary Jackson.
The CCREEE PPF aims to address the region’s main barriers to sustainable energy uptake, and bridges the gap between uncertain projects and practical investments through the provision of technical assistance, advisory support, and investor-developer matchmaking.
The public sector stream of the Facility will operate on the principle that energy is an essential part of climate governance. Therefore, the services offered will advance public sector energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, making them better able to attract sources of financing.