Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday suggested that a US$1 billion Caribbean Energy Thematic Fund be established to deal with regional energy security.
Speaking at the First Caribbean Energy Security Summit in Washington, D.C., said the T&T Government's is committed to working with the United States and other Caribbean countries to achieve a "cleaner, more sustainable energy future" in the region.
"Energy is at the heart of efforts to build resilience through improved competitiveness and stronger energy security," she said.
Persad-Bissessar said resilience can be built by transforming the energy matrix in the Caribbean, which requires a three-pronged approach:
�2 Improving conservation and energy efficiency,
�2 Maximizing the use of renewable energy sources
�2 Converting to Liquefied Natural Gas fuelled electricity generation for the base load capacity.
She said the cost of this solution is not supportable for countries with high debt and minimal fiscal space, and it is therefore necessary to engender co-operation for building resilience through energy security.
Persad-Bissessar proposed a methodology to work with the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the World Bank, the IMF and other international donors, friends of the Caribbean and the private sector to provide the method and means of achieving energy security in a manner that is efficient and sustainable.
She said the T&T Government has been working in close collaboration with the IDB over the last 18 months to design a new initiative that is home-grown in the Caribbean.
"After rigorous economic analysis and technical feasibility studies and a thorough assessment of these, we have agreed as a government on the creation of a Caribbean Energy Thematic Fund for Caricom member states," she said.
Persad-Bissessar proposed working with traditional donors and countries with a strategic interest in the region and the private sector to provide the necessary financial and technical support for transformation of the energy sector, maximizing public private partnerships.
"We must look past short term fluctuations in oil prices to focus on the long term strategic interests of the region,"she said.
In a joint statement issued at the end of yesterday's summit, participating countries said their agreed to "comprehensive, planning-based and research-driven approaches to energy transition, including implementation of pilot and demonstration projects, based on successful models so that individual clean energy projects are part of a fully integrated, climate-resilient energy transition plan toward clean sustainable energy for all."
They also agreed to specific reforms, including adoption of recommendations from the 2013 Caricom Energy Policy afor introduction of new technologies favouring sustainable and clean energ.
In addition, where "technically and commercially feasible" the objective will be lower carbon electricity generation through wind, solar, geothermal power, hydropower, bioenergy, ocean energy, energy recovery from waste, and other clean energies.