Antigua and Barbuda: PetroCaribe supports social development and renewable energy projects

Antigua-and-Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Development & Energy, the Honourable Asot Michael, recently spoke at the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela marking the 10th year of the relationship between PetroCaribe (PDV CAB) with the twin island country. He emphasized that the company affords participating countries the opportunity to purchase fuel from Venezuela under highly concessionary financing terms, thus allowing “to utilize these ‘savings’ to fund social programs designed to improve the quality of life with particular emphasis on the vulnerable.” A large part of the text below underlines the impressive initiatives on renewable energy that the government has been able to undertake, keeping Antigua and Barbuda as “the greenest islands of the West Indies.” Below are excerpts of the PM’s statement.

[. . .] We have all gathered to mark the significant milestone of the 10th anniversary of Petróleos de Venezuela Caribe Antigua & Barbuda Ltd or PDV CAB for short. PDV CAB was created in 2005 with the principal objective of conducting activities directly related or incidental to the PetroCaribe Initiative.

Briefly, as I am confident you all are most likely aware of what the PetroCaribe is, but just in case not, it is an incredibly important integration initiative create in June 2005 for people of Latin America and the Caribbean to express concrete achievements through energy cooperation and founded on an equal exchange program between member countries. Additionally, it promotes the socioeconomic development of the region affording participating countries the opportunity to purchase fuel from Venezuela under highly concessionary financing terms, that allows us to utilize these ‘savings’ to fund social programs designed to improve the quality of life with particular emphasis on the vulnerable.

[. . .] In these 10 years, the cooperation between our two countries has been proven over and over again by achieving tangible results. [. . .] I would like to briefly share some of what has been achieved, which has helped to improve lives for Antiguans and Barbudans for the past decade. From cultural endeavors by supporting the construction of Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds and the National Tennis Centre as well as community centers and libraries to quality of life projects, such as supporting water improvement, and solar investment projects. Social programs such as the Senior Citizen Utility Subsidy Program, and the People’s Benefit Program, has positively impacted our citizens. [. . .]

[. . .] While I have only been in office for just over a year, we have made many successful achievements through Petro Caribe. [. . .] Since I have taken office, we have ambitiously invested in opportunities in Renewable Energy to include Solar, Wind, and Geothermal. The new administration has pursued a multi-pronged approach to energy aimed at fulfilling its election mandate to modernize and transform the energy sector so as to provide more affordable energy to consumers to promote the adoption of Antigua and Barbuda’s considerable renewable energy resources, while meeting the country’s international obligations for global greenhouse gas reduction by 20% by 2020. [. . .]  The Ministry of Energy is committed to seeing Antigua and Barbuda become a leader in the application of renewable energy in the eastern Caribbean.

[. . .] Among the first of these has been the enactment of the Renewable Energy Act, a landmark piece of legislation aimed at transforming the regulatory landscape for energy in Antigua and Barbuda and representing the first major change in energy legislation in Antigua and Barbuda since the early 1970s.

A major initiative on renewable energy has been the government’s partnering with two international energy companies, PV Energy and MEEECO, for the installation of 10MW of solar photovoltaic energy to be interconnected to the grid and to be placed at various government facilities and installations throughout Antigua and Barbuda. The first phase will involve 3MW of solar PV installed at the VC Bird International Airport. This will support the new airport terminal, which is expected to be a major electricity consumer. Barbuda is presently slated to receive 1MW of solar power. Additional target sites include hospitals and schools.

The energy efficient bulbs that will be disseminated will reduce the energy consumption for these target sites and will ultimately make the cost of electricity more affordable. [. . .]  Within our theme of efficiency and reducing our CO2 emissions, the Government has also begun importing Low Sulphur Diesel (LSD) fuel for the important, and popular, yachting sector of Antigua and Barbuda. The LSD has a lower energy content and has substantially lower emissions which is much better for the environment – something we are of course very concerned with protecting as we are the greenest islands of the West Indies!

For full speech, see http://www.caribbeantimes.ag/?p=3029

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