There may be renewable energy benefits that the region can tap into for economic gain.
And, says new UN Resident Coordinator Stephen O’Malley, he is interested in seeing countries tap into that potential in the region.
O’Malley, who is also the UNDP Resident Representative for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, said coming from Canada to Barbados which has abundant and almost year-round sunshine he was aware that developing renewable energy, especially solar, could be a “great benefit”.
“We already see in Barbados a very strong level of penetration in individual households of renewable technologies for example, but what more can be done to make better use of renewable technology here and in this region. There are questions of wind power on other islands. There is the possibility of hydroelectric power or geothermal, so there I think the whole area of renewable energy has some real possibilities for the region to take full advantage of which could also, I think, have some economic benefits as well,” he stated, in his first meeting with local media this morning.
O’Malley noted that through the UN-affiliated Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, community groups and other small organisations had been able to secure financing to assist with the development of projects in renewable energy and the environment.
In the region, he said there was also assistance for countries in providing feasibility studies on renewable energy and the provision of a network of professionals at their fingertips.
“What we are trying to do is make available, to the countries of the region, the best available expertise so that they can design the right programmes for themselves, but we have also undertaken efforts to promote and expand the knowledge of renewable energy. Also so that citizens can be involved.
“It is not just a question of governments setting policy, although that is very important, and as you can see here in Barbados with the new law, the governments propose laws which enable the involvement of independent producers feeding in renewable energy into the grid for example. There are lots of other solutions that are also possible when you start looking at small grids, micro-grids as they are called, for particular isolated communities and so on.
“So these are things where concretely we have been offering and very much engaged in, advising and supporting governments through this policy. One of the things that the UN also does through the Climate Change wing is support the possible involvement of those governments where they would like to do a project, they need some form of financing and they can partner through carbon exchanges with people who are looking to purchase carbon offsets,” O’Malley. (LB)