Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Incentives, frameworks will help renewable energy sector

HIGH dependency and rising costs of fossil fuels have contributed to unsustainable debt levels, making small island developing states more vulnerable to global energy price shocks.

This observation was made on Monday by UN Under-secretary General, UNDP Associate Administrator, Rebeca Grynspan, who was speaking at a side event for Heads of Delegation at the SIDS Inter-Regional Preparatory Meeting, held at the Hilton Barbados on Monday.

From left: UN Under-secretary General, UNDP Associate Administrator
Rebeca Grynspan, Minister of Environment and Drainage Dr. Denis Lowe
and Deputy Director of the International Renewable Energy Agency
Innovation and Technology Centre, Elizabeth Press speaking at a side
event on renewable energy for Heads of Delegation at the SIDS Inter-Regional
Preparatory Meeting, held at the Hilton Barbados on Monday.
Grynspan remarked that too many have watched as their sustainable development dividends have been eroded or even wiped out by racing energy costs, but she says all is not doom and gloom.

“While the transition to sustainable energy requires committed leaders and adequate technical and financial support, the benefits to switch to renewable in promoting energy efficiency and conservation are also well understood. The decline of the cost of renewable energy is happening fast and is a welcomed development,” she stated.

Grynspan explained that while it is recognised that a part of the problem facing renewables is that there isn’t a level playing field to compete with fossil fuels, which enjoys large subsidies. To this end, she further noted that it is policy incentives and frameworks that will make competition with fossil fuels a possibility.

However, she lamented that too many people still have a lack of access to modern, adequate and safe sources of energy.

“One out of every five persons in the world has no access to modern energy. Twice as many use wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste to cook their meals and heat their homes, exposing their families to smoke and fumes that damage their health,” she revealed.

“Indoor air pollution kills nearly two million a year in the world – namely women and children. They are the most exposed to the indoor pollution. These are more deaths than by malaria and still it continues to be an invisible cause of health problems around the world,” she further disclosed.

The Under-secretary General said that the meeting provides a welcomed opportunity to look at how best to carry forward the vision of SIDS.

“There is no doubt sustainable energy is essential to meeting the sustainable development objectives we have and the question before us is how best to harness its potential in the context of the outcome of the inter-regional meeting in the SIDS 2014 process.”

She said that the topic ‘Sustainable Energy: Placing Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency at the Centre of the Sustainable Development of SIDS’ is significant, recognising that energy is vital for human development, not only for growth.

“It enables communities, countries and people to generate jobs, economic growth, stay healthy, stay secure and advance the well-being of everybody in their family. By expanding access to sustainable energy services, countries can enhance productivity and help drive progress across the MDGs.” (JH)

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