CDB Meetings reveal Caribbean lagging in Renewable Energy, Billion$ needed to cross the line
By Dana Malcolm
June 15, 2022 – We need to find a way to lower our energy bills with renewable energy options and it’s going to take billions, but the CDB is proposing a new program to tackle it.
The CDB Accelerated Sustainable Energy and Resilient Transition 2030 (ASERT) will address volatility in the energy sector which is one of the most important challenges for the region. The CDB says they are aiming to fix the issues and push the Caribbean towards more sustainable energy use with ASERT.
If we don’t channel our efforts into renewable energy our countries will end up being less climate resilient, there will be “major risks to poverty reduction efforts, the undermining of economic resilience efforts and risks of missing green trade opportunities”
This is according to Sustainable Energy Specialist Christopher Straughn who presented during the annual general meeting on Friday June 3rd. Straughn explained that most Borrowing Member Countries (BMC) experienced “energy insecurity” because of factors like their over dependence on one main source of energy, usually oil.
Straughn made the case that the region was full of renewable energy options but in order to harness them the sector requires 16 times more cash investments than it has now (about 1.25 billion.) He also noted that Borrowing Member Countries need to install 26,000 MW of renewable energy capacity of 1400 percent increase over the current rate to hit their 2030 goals.
The fact that oil is imported and demands foreign exchange for purchase is also a downside, as prices for shipping and raw material were subject to “market vagaries and geopolitics”
That is especially obvious this year as the Caribbean region has seen steeply rising oil prices as shipping companies raise prices and the war in Ukraine and embargos on Russian oil put a squeeze on the amount of oil available for purchase worldwide.
Even prior to the extreme insecurity of 2021 the combined Fuel Import bills of the BMCs were staggering, clocking $8 billion USD. An additional $1.8 billion was added to that in just the first five months in 2022. These facts make the case for switching to renewable energy all the more compelling.
The Caribbean is not yet where it needs to be to meet its 2030 targets but some countries are doing better than others. Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis all set targets to have over 80 percent renewable energy in country by 2030. So far Belize and Dominica are leading the pack being over the 40 percent mark. No other country has set such high performance targets or made it that far into their targets (almost 50 percent).
The Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago all remain below 10 percent. This is where the ASERT-2030 Program comes in, there will be a robust dialogue to agree on transformative initiatives and strategize on how to move quickly but inclusively.
Some of those transformative initiatives include a resilient roofs initiative, wide scale greening of the public sector and harnessing offshore wind.
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
Why Sargassum Matters
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – “If you don’t like it, go to another beach!” Is what Aaron John, an Education Officer from The Bahamas National Trust jokingly tells our news team about sargassum blooms; his quip, motivated by the necessity of nature when pit against the notion that there is a real threat when the stinky seaweed makes its annual appearance.
John can admit, he says, that Sargassum isn’t very pretty but life isn’t all about aesthetics and in this instance that ugly patch serves a purpose.
“We love our sandy beaches, but in order to keep them we need Sargassum. When storms come, they wash away all the sand off the beach but sargassum acts as a mulch to protect the sand from water erosion. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t feel good but we need it.”
He said it also provides a habitat for small crustaceans, crabs, and insects that are all necessary to our ecosystem and islanders have found use for the weed.
“Historically, (in The Bahamas) we have been using sargassum as fertilizer, especially in the family Islands as far back as I know,” he said. “Birds don’t go on the beach unless there is Sargassum and what do they do? they feed – it’s beautiful.”
He encouraged residents to just leave it be if they came across it.
Sargassum isn’t harmful to humans, except for people with respiratory issues who may find the rotten egg smell triggers asthma. Despite this, it’s not advisable to walk through the weeds which may hide sharp rocks and bottles or vulnerable animals.
Experts say Sargassum blooms began to increase in size around 2011 and have continued to get bigger and bigger since. This year‘s bloom is around 5000 miles long and 300 miles wide and visible from space.
“I know it’s not a general outlook, but I would like to change the perspective on sargassum,” John said, pointing out The Bahamas National Trust is actively working to decrease alarm over the less worrisome events like sargassum as it raises the profile on the environmentally devastating.
Lease agreement approved for diaspora office
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos’ Bahamas Diaspora Office is moving closer and closer to opening day, following the Cabinet’s approval for the signing of a lease agreement.
The lease will be signed with FINCEN ltd in the Bahamas. Several weeks ago, Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration confirmed to our news team that the location had been found and was being finalized; now a lease is approved at the Cabinet level.
The interest in the TCI from TC Bahamians was evident in the diaspora meetings held in early February. The two meetings held in Nassau and Grand Bahama were completely full and over-subscribed by hundreds.
It’s interest which the Government hopes will translate to real life population growth, bolstering the local population before the native population ‘goes extinct’.
The Opposition PDM is on the record with what it feels is a far more viable solution to a dwindling native population; seek out the country’s own citizens and bring them back home.
Cabinet did not state when the office will open.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
Caribbean News1 week ago
JAMAICA: 1.3 Million Covid-19 Vaccine Doses Administered in Region
Bahamas News1 week ago
Minister Glover-Rolle Delivers CARICOM Statement at UN’s Commission on the Status of Women
Caribbean News1 week ago
Turks & Caicos inspires and debuts Drake Fashion Line, NOCTA
Government1 week ago
Right on Cue, Provo Dump burning again as CDB Consultants prepare for Community Meeting
Caribbean News5 days ago
Debrief on Haiti Caribbean heads visit
Caribbean News1 week ago
JAMAICA: Persons Encouraged to Purchase Coffee Festival Tickets Early
Caribbean News1 week ago
UK Imposed Procurement Process Slowed TCI getting off EU Blacklist
Caribbean News6 days ago
TCI native Phildreka Mayham promoted to Learning and Development Manager at BTC