By Vishani Ragobeer
Shifting to more renewable sources of energy is crucial to help combat the harmful effects of climate change and President Dr. Irfaan Ali says that smaller, more vulnerable countries need greater support from developed countries.
The President’s statements were made on Tuesday at the handing over ceremony for the solar photovoltaic power generation system at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat at Liliendaal, Georgetown.
This project, simply, will provide solar power to the secretariat, allowing it to generate and use cleaner energy.
The 400-kilowatt solar generation project is found at the front of the CARICOM Secretariat at Liliendaal, Georgetown. This project was undertaken through a US $17.8 million grant agreement between the governments of Guyana and Japan; of that amount US $7 million was earmarked for the project.
Dr. Ali emphasised that Japan’s commitment to help with the energy transition in Guyana and at the Secretariat signals the kind of support that more countries need to provide.
And so, he said that there must be a more “aggressive deployment of resources” to help vulnerable countries like Guyana and other small islands and small states in the Caribbean to adopt new technologies, mitigate the impact of climate disasters like flooding and with climate adaptation.
“It is unfortunate that we are hearing about a lot of commitments and a lot of figures but we are seeing no real attempts to translate those commitments into support on the ground,” Dr. Ali lamented.
Still, the massive project at Liliendaal, he said, is quite significant.
Ambassador of Japan to Guyana and CARICOM Tatsuo Hirayama agreed. While providing brief remarks, he talked up Japan’s commitment to helping Guyana and the Caribbean region transition to more renewable energy sources, emphasising that Japan can be a valuable partner given the country’s extensive experience and expertise.
Through this project, it was reported that more than 1,500 solar panels have been mounted at the front lawns of the Secretariat’s compound. Additionally, there are several servers, batteries, panels and other equipment throughout the compound.
On Tuesday also, CARICOM Secretary-General Dr. Carla Barnett said that the solar power setup is expected to generate more electricity than will be required to power the operations of the secretariat on most days.
She noted that it is expected that the excess energy – that is, the energy that has been produced cannot be used up to power the secretariat – could feed into the national energy grid.
Soon, Dr. Barnett said the secretariat should be able to conclude an electricity generation and sharing agreement with the local utility company, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL).