The Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) Pamela Coke-Hamilton called on the Region’s private sector to drive forward with the adoption of renewable energy solutions at the EU-Caribbean Sustainable Energy Conference currently taking place in Barbados. “What we have found at Caribbean Export is that companies are increasingly eager to take corrective measures because it affects their bottom line”, Coke-Hamilton shared. The implementation of energy-efficient practices within business operations enables firms to be more competitive in the global market.
To assist these organisations, the Agency has developed an Energy Management Training module for their Productivity Network (ProNET) programme, which helps SMEs address the role of energy in business, increase their understanding of the energy service supply chains. In addition, following participation in the course, businesses should be more equipped to make the choices necessary as it relates to different energy systems and their technologies to make them more efficient.
Coke-Hamilton urged that as a region, the transition towards renewable energy solutions becomes an increasing priority and that “we [should] move beyond simply writing energy policies and work towards having these translated into actual legislation that would benefit the private sector”.
Initiatives such as the removal of VAT on energy-efficient and renewable energy equipment, the support for the use of electric vehicles, and an introduction to rebates for energy reduction are a few of the recommendations that the Agency has previously made to regional Governments.
Further, in recognition of the costs burdened by SMEs to make the necessary changes, the Agency is providing grants to firms so as to enable them to have energy audits conducted. This energy audit would be the first stage to understanding the energy cost savings that could be seen as a result of implements various energy-efficient measures.