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CSEF III Recommends CARICOM Coordination of Members’ Energy Policies

18 September 2012: The Third Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum (CSEF III) recommended greater coordination among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member States in policies regarding energy integration, energy efficiency and the promotion of renewable energy sources.

CSEF III was held 13-14 September 2012, in St. Kitts and Nevis, and was attended by over 150 participants from CARICOM member States, the UK, Germany and Finland, as well as representatives of regional and UN agencies.

CSEF III plenary sessions discussed ideas, best practice and lessons learned from non-CARICOM countries regarding: energy integration around renewable energy resources; geothermal energy; sources of financing from development banks and the clean development mechanism (CDM) for sustainable energy projects and programs; renewable energy grid interconnection mechanisms for CARICOM; bioenergy; implications of the Rio+20 outcomes; and coordination of sustainable energy initiatives in the context of CARICOM.

In addition, parallel sessions were held on: "new" sustainable energy technologies such as solar cooling and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC); waste to energy; energy access and energy poverty, which particularly looked at Haiti; and filling the gaps for integration around energy efficiency.

Among the recommendations generated were those calling for CARICOM to: collaborate with the Central American Integration System (SICA) to learned from the latter's experiences in promoting energy integration; create a Working Group on Sustainable Energy coordinated by the CARICOM Secretariat; harmonize member States' energy regulatory frameworks and develop a common Interconnection Policy; create regional building codes that cover energy use and efficiency; create CARICOM Mandatory Regional Standards and Labeling for household equipment and appliances; collectively tap the Caribbean Development Bank's Climate Action Line of Credit to finance sustainable energy programs; and adopt a regional strategic approach to financing initial geothermal exploration and test drilling, possibly modeled after the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund "Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility."

CSEF III also recommended that CARICOM member States: promote "net billing;" promote sustainable energy and energy efficiency within the tourism, manufacturing, waste management and water sectors; replicate the International Renewable Energy Agency's (IRENA) Renewables Readiness Assessments; and lobby for carbon sequestration to be a tradable service and for renewable energy use to become one of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

CSEF III was organized by the CARICOM Secretariat with financial support from the European Union (EU) and governments of Finland, Germany and UK and technical support from the Organization of American States (OAS). [CARICOM Press Release] [OLADE Press Release] [SICA Press Release (in Spanish)]