REFORMING CARIBBEAN ENERGY SECTOR WILL SPARK ECONOMIC GROWTH SAYS CARICOM CHAIRMAN
Written by GIS on December 15, 2017
Prime Minister Mitchell made a powerful case for the region’s transition from fossil fuel to cleaner forms of energy while addressing a forum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States this week.
He told a high profile gathering that research and outreach must be tailored to ensure the elimination of fossil fuel imports and 100 percent renewable energy use by 2030.
“The current high price of fossil fuel imports which constitute close to 100 percent of energy use in some Caribbean countries is largely responsible for inhibiting growth and development,” Prime Minister Mitchell said. “In some countries of the region, fossil fuel imports account for over seventy percent of export earnings.”
The Mitchell Government in St. George’s has passed new laws to end the monopoly on electricity as part of wider efforts to reduce the cost of energy. Industry officials in Grenada have been protesting the high price of electricity which, they say, has had a crippling effect on manufacturing and production in general.
“Coupled with debt to GDP ratios averaging in excess of 70 percent, unemployment rates averaging in excess of 25 percent and poverty rate averaging in excess of 30 percent, the region is mired in a viscous cycle of under development and poverty in some areas, with the attendant social consequences,” Dr. Mitchell said. “Reform of the energy sector must also include the removal of growth inhibiting monopoly power production institutions and relations, and the introduction of pro-competitive power generation structures, aided by progressive and modern regulatory frameworks”.
Prime Minister Mitchell told the MIT forum that “The research and outreach planned must, at a minimum, examine, analyse and provide options, technologies and applications for a resilient Caribbean energy sector.”