Providenciales, TCI, December 7, 2016 -The seventh annual Green Aruba Conference, held at the Marriott Resort & Stellar is Casino in Aruba during the week of November 15, served as an exceptional platform to showcase Aruba’s progress in sustainable energy transition, a process which began since 2004. This conference provided an ideal opportunity for countries, institutions and experts from all over the world to share valuable information, knowledge, experiences and best practices.
Energy Analyst – Ms. Sparkle Prentice participated as a mentee of the Women in Renewable Energy (WIRE) network, an initiative of the Clinton Climate Initiative, connecting women energy leaders from islands worldwide, providing up-to-date information on the status of women in the energy industry and highlighting women doing world-changing work. Ms. Prentice was one of ten women selected as a WIRE Mentee who will benefit from one-on-one mentoring, sharing goals, successes and learning opportunities to develop personal leadership styles and refine tools to progress and excel; thereby achieving professional and personal goals in a male-dominated energy industry. At the Green Aruba Conference, as a WIRE Mentee, Ms. Prentice participated in the panel discussion, “Islands as Leaders in the Evolving Energy Portfolio: The Opportunities and Challenges.”
Ms. Prentice spoke about island governments working to create and reform policies that benefit utilities, government, industry and residents, as well as the opportunities or incentives that can be offered to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. She was joined in Aruba by her 2 WIRE Network Ambassadors, Juliet Carvalhal and First Lady of Aruba, Doina Eman Neagoy, as well as other WIRE Network Ambassadors and mentees from Jamaica, St. Lucia, Anguilla, US Virgin Islands and San Andres. Ms. Prentice also participated in the WIRE Mentor Network sessions on leadership, self-awareness, and realizing and embracing power and influence.
Energy and Utilities Commissioner – Malike Cummings was a speaker on the first day of the Green Aruba Conference, presenting on the topic, “Energy Sustainability and the Regulator.” He addressed the emerging role of the regulator in promoting sustainable energy, and underscored the increasing complexity and challenges the implementation of sustainable energy brings to the role, function and duty of the regulator, especially in small Caribbean markets. The involvement of the regulator in policy development is fundamentally important in order to contribute and transfer knowledge to the process, and to ensure processes are transparent and actions predictable in order to minimize risks and transaction costs, and instill and reinforce investor confidence in renewable energy initiatives.
Cummings also spoke to the many regulatory challenges, namely; having to justifying the value of benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives, which are realizable in the long term, against relatively high costs that must be borne in the short term; the challenge of managing special interests to minimize regulatory capture; dealing with archaic legislative and regulatory frameworks and the challenges of modernizing them; and the coordinating role of the regulator with relevant departments and agencies to minimize conflicts, duplication of efforts and delays in the successful and effective implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. He also spoke about the pivotal role of the Regulator in the Integrated Resource Planning for the electric utility, to ensure a least cost energy mix and acquisition of assets. Fundamental to the successful execution of the regulator’s duties is the adequate allocation of resources, especially in this increasingly complex and emerging energy sector, where roles, tasks and functions continue to accrete, Cummings elaborated.