Gov't committed to renewable energy — PM

Gov't committed to renewable energy — PM

BY DENISE DENNIS Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller has reiterated her administration's commitment to the integrated use of renewable energy to develop the economy and eradicate poverty.

The prime minister gave the assurance at last Wednesday's opening of the joint University of Technology (UTech)/German Embassy Sustainable Energy Conference and Exposition at the institution's Main campus in St Andrew

"The choices we have to make are very clear. The current level of energy consumption is unsustainable," she said, noting that the introduction of LNG as a part of a short to medium-term plan to diversify the energy supply mix is proceeding apace.

Simpson Miller told the gathering of stakeholders in the energy industry, ministry officials and members of the diplomatic corp at UTech's Alfred Sangster auditorium that a small developing country such as Jamaica cannot expand its productive capacity, attract business and ensure the well-being of its people, with the unprecedented increases in the cost of energy annually.

"Next to debt-servicing, the cost of energy represents our greatest outflow of foreign exchange, and the outlook is for this to worsen," she said.

She said the Government has set itself a very ambitious goal to see renewable energy sources making up 30 per cent of the national energy mix by the year 2030.

"We have embarked on a clear path for introducing and encouraging the development of the renewable energy sector," Simpson Miller noted.

She said that she will also be closely monitoring energy consumption in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) under the Public Sector Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme, which is in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, and is currently underway.

Under the programme, government ministries and agencies will have set targets by which they will be required to reduce their consumption. The OPM was one of the first government buildings to be retrofitted.

Germany's Ambassador Josef Beck, in his presentation, explained that the conference and exhibition should serve to increase awareness of the g.he great opportunities of a sustainable and green economy.

Germany, which marks 50 years of friendship and cooperation with Jamaica, having been among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Jamaica on August 6, 1962, is also committed to promoting a sustainable energy economy and combating climate change.

"Germany has, by adopting its energy turnaround of 2010, embarked on the most ambitious path to a green economy among major economies, an economy which by 2050 is predominantly powered by renewable energy covering at least 80 per cent of gross electricity and 60 per cent of gross final energy consumption," Beck said.

The conference and exposition is part of a series of activities by UTech to mark Jamaica's 50th year of Independence and 50 years of Jamaican-German diplomatic relations.

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