The Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) has partnered with the Governments of Belize, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to undertake the development of Integrated Resource and Resilience Plans (IRRPs).
IRRPs are plans for how countries can supply their need for electricity, in the future. The plans will ensure reliable sources of power, minimize negative impacts on the environment and enhance the resilience of power systems to hazards and risks, while minimizing costs to consumers. Building resilience in this way guarantees energy security, as the Caribbean seeks to adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Representing one of the beneficiary countries, Ms. Anita Hankey, Acting Head of the Renewable Energy Division in the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries – Trinidad and Tobago noted that, “the IRRP will assist in meeting growing demands in the energy sector, while increasing the amount of renewable electricity available to consumers.” She further indicated that the establishment and eventual implementation of an IRRP means that that the country is efficient and resilient to shocks such as climate disasters and demand shocks due to pandemics. It also means, she said, “a cleaner and greener Trinidad and Tobago.”
CCREEE’s Executive Director, Dr Gary Jackson echoed Ms Hankey’s sentiments, sharing that the Centre’s support to CARICOM Member States is in line with its strategic programmes. “As the CCREEE works toward its goal of transforming the energy sector for the benefit of Caribbean people, resilience plays a key role. Our region is incredibly vulnerable and that includes the energy sector, as we’ve already started to see in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. Dr Jackson further noted that the benefits of an IRRP are many, including investment opportunities and socio-economic success which will become critical as the Caribbean re-builds, post COVID-19.
IRRP initiatives across the three beneficiary countries recently launched during virtual meetings which were attended by more than stakeholders, from various institutions. These included the CARICOM Energy Unit, the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology as well as Ministries of Energy, regulators, and Ministries of Finance, among others.
While reliable, sustainable, resilient, and affordable power is appreciated, it is in the absence of it, that we most clearly understand its value. IRRPs are how the Caribbean can responsibly plan to ensure hardships associated with reduced or unreliable access to power need not be endured.