Open­ing of CARILEC’s An­nual Con­fer­ence

The Star (St. Lucia) - - BUSINESS - By Michele-Lau­ren Hack­shaw

The open­ing cer­e­mony and cock­tail re­cep­tion for the an­nual CARILEC Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cers and Fi­nance Con­fer­ence, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with LUCELEC, was held at San­dals Grande Ball­room on Tues­day evening.

This year’s theme is ‘Move­ment: Util­i­ties, Peo­ple, Tech­nol­ogy and In­vest­ment’. It fo­cuses on the key fac­tors that as­sist the progress of the move­ment of util­i­ties to­wards a new par­a­digm, through the de­vel­op­men­tal change and trans­for­ma­tion, as well as ex­am­in­ing how util­i­ties are in­flu­enc­ing hu­man ca­pac­ity, tech­nol­ogy and in­vest­ments, par­tic­u­larly as re­lates to re­new­able en­ergy and cli­mate re­silience.

“I would like to sin­gle out two words in this theme: tech­nol­ogy and in­vest­ment,” said Mr. Rod­ney Ge­orge, Se­nior Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Man­ager, WÄRTSILÄ, dur­ing the spon­sor’s re­marks. “Last year, WÄRTSILÄ spent 131 mil­lion euros on R&D, rep­re­sent­ing ap­prox­i­mately 2.7% of our net sales and we had fifty-four patents for new in­ven­tions. As a re­sult, new prod­ucts and im­prove­ment to ex­ist­ing prod­ucts are com­ing to the mar­ket; par­tic­u­larly the ar­eas of gas-fired re­cip­ro­cat­ing en­gines, util­is­ing nat­u­ral gas, LPG and eth­ane and, cou­pled with that ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments in our ex­ist­ing port­fo­lio of gen­er­at­ing sets.”

Over the next few days a num­ber of top­ics were cov­ered dur­ing the work­shop at San­dals Grande, such as CARILEC’s Cli­mate Change Adap­ta­tion & Sus­tain­able En­ergy Pro­gramme; Elec­tric Ve­hi­cles; Emerg­ing Busi­ness Mod­els for Util­i­ties; De­vel­op­ing Load Pro­files for Peak-De­pen­dent Op­er­a­tional Plan­ning Ap­pli­ca­tions; New Power Gen­er­a­tion Strate­gies for the Caribbean; Build­ing En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency and the Util­ity In­vest­ment Model, and In­te­grat­ing Sus­tain­able Tech­nol­ogy to Build the Sus­tain­able Util­ity.

Key­note speaker, Dr. Devon Gard­ner, pro­gramme man­ager for En­ergy and Head of En­ergy Unit, CARICOM, made a point that small de­vel­op­ing is­lands are most vul­ner­a­ble to the ef­fects of cli­mate change.

“All small is­lands states have been iden­ti­fied, and the Caribbean in par­tic­u­lar, as be­ing the most vul­ner­a­ble to­wards the im­pact of cli­mate change by the IPC re­ports, es­pe­cially the AR5 which has iden­ti­fied the Caribbean as hav­ing the sin­gle big­gest loss of all the coun­tries in the world as a re­gion where it comes to the po­ten­tial im­pacts of cli­mate change,” Gard­ner stated.

He also men­tioned that the CARICOM sec­re­tariat has made the de­ci­sion of lead­ing from a re­gional level and that it has been work­ing very closely with CARILEC, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to shar­ing in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge.

“Noth­ing is worse than be­ing in an en­vi­ron­ment where we do not have [suf­fi­cient] sci­en­tific data. We end up in a sit­u­a­tion where we can do more harm from the plan­ning process than good if we plan with­out hav­ing the right tools and we are work­ing there­fore with CARILEC to es­tab­lish an un­der­stand­ing of process.”

Hon­ourable Stephen­son King shared his thoughts on this year’s con­fer­ence has stated, “As min­is­ter with the re­spon­si­bil­ity for en­ergy in Saint Lu­cia, it gives me great sat­is­fac­tion that this pres­ti­gious event is be­ing held here in Saint Lu­cia”.

He noted that the theme was rel­e­vant and com­mend­able as it sig­ni­fied re­al­ism, depth and pur­pose to­wards in­de­pen­dence amongst the suc­cess of the en­ergy sec­tor, which presents the op­por­tu­nity for in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity. “Tech­nol­ogy is lever­age to pro­vide af­ford­able, re­li­able, and sus­tain­able en­ergy. How­ever, the right tech­nol­ogy must be utilised, es­pe­cially in small is­lands economies as ours, where there must be right fit and it must be ap­pro­pri­ate for the pur­pose”.

Be­fore declar­ing CARILEC’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cers and Chief Fi­nance Of­fi­cers Con­fer­ence of­fi­cially open, King wished all par­tic­i­pants a suc­cess­ful and fruit­ful de­lib­er­a­tion.

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony there were two mu­si­cal per­for­mances: Mr. Al­li­son Mar­quis play­ing steel pan, and a cul­tural ren­di­tion with He­len Folk Dancers. Boo Hink­son per­formed at the re­cep­tion whilst par­tic­i­pants con­nected over cock­tails and ap­pe­tiz­ers.

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cers and Chief Fi­nance Of­fi­cers and Hon. Stephen­son King at the con­fer­ence’s open­ing cer­e­mony and cock­tail re­cep­tion.

Hon. Stephen­son King de­liv­er­ing the Min­is­ter’s Ad­dress.

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