(OECS Secretariat, Castries, St Lucia) The OECS Secretariat with grant assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has recently embarked on the implementation of a new energy project for its member countries. The project is entitled, Sustainable Energy Technical Assistance (SETA), and is focused on creating a guiding framework and an enabling environment to support the efficient and sustainable production and use of energy. SETA will also contribute to improving the capability of the member countries of the OECS to utlilise holistic approaches to energy management as they move towards closer economic integration.
The SETA project has been established in response to the high reliance of OECS Member States on fossil fuels to supply their energy needs. With rising oil prices on the international market, governments of the OECS have been forced to pay increases for imports, (particularly for fuel-related products), and this has resulted in consumer price inflation, increased production costs for some companies, and negative impacts on competitiveness.
As part of SETA, the OECS Secretariat has awarded a contract to a consulting firm to commence work in June 2012 to develop an OECS Regional Energy Efficiency Strategy (OECS-REES) and Action Plan, complimented by National Strategies and Action Plans. The developed OECS-REES and National Strategies will incorporate, among other things, all aspects of efficiency improvements of the energy utilization sectors, including elements related to transportation and potable water. The Action Plans will also identify interventions to be implemented for each energy utilisation sector in OECS member countries.
In the development of the Regional Energy Efficiency Strategy, the consultant is expected to examine current approaches being used to develop national renewable energy resources, and will make recommendations for regional approaches to improving energy efficiency across all sectors of OECS Member countries. This may include the possibility for common approaches in such areas as procurement of fossil fuels, regulation of electric utilities, a regime for carbon trading, and the establishment of a cross island interconnecting grid.
The work to be undertaken by this consultancy is expected to be completed over a 13-month period and will include the hosting of two Sub-Regional Workshops to engage stakeholders from OECS member countries in the development process.
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