Caricom chair wants region to optimise use of renewable energy
SANTOKHI... there is a need for innovative financing mechanisms that are suitable, affordable and accessible to small energy markets within Caricom

PARAMARIBO, Suriname (CMC) — President Chandrikapersad "Chan" Santokhi says it is important for the Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries to continue optimising renewable energy sources and increase the share of renewable energy in their energy supply.

Addressing the three-day Regional and Suriname Renewable Energy Forum, Santokhi said the 15-member regional grouping, of which he is chairman, is facing more and more challenges due to the increasingly deteriorating climate, continuing international political tensions, and weakened economies.

He said oil prices have reached record highs this year and it is, therefore, a priority for the region to deal with the economic impact of fossil fuels, which provide more than 80 per cent of the Caribbean's energy needs.

Santokhi said that Suriname is fortunate to be energy-independent and generates its own power, "and it is with 50 per cent renewable energy, mainly from hydropower, that we can achieve this".

He told the conference that the Caribbean is not immune to international economic and political developments, noting "the geopolitics of energy, which affect supply and demand, are undermining the post-pandemic economic recovery".

Santokhi said it is creating more poverty worldwide through rising commodity prices, rising inflation, and higher supply costs, which are exacerbated by the high debt burden in many member states.

The region is committed to the transformation to zero-carbon economies, but financing the energy transition remains a key issue for member states.

Santokhi said that there is a need for innovative financing mechanisms that are suitable, affordable, and accessible to small energy markets within Caricom, making reference to the Caribbean Resilience Fund.

The three-day conference is organised by the Energy Authority of Suriname, Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, and Suriname Energy Chamber and is intended to provide a platform for all those active and involved in the energy sector in promoting the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and models in the region as part of the electrification planning.

The organisers said that the agenda is designed, in a way, to extract information and insight which is not readily available from other sources or online. "Also, this event will consist of interactive sessions designed to draw out and explore opportunities for investment and development [in the] region and nationwide," according to a statement issued here.

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