ST. THOMAS — Over 270 people attended the territory’s inaugural Caribbean Clean Energy Technology Symposium (CCETS) held from March 24-27 at the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, where leaders in the clean energy industry, local and foreign government officials and business people gathered to learn and share knowledge about the benefits of clean energy in the Caribbean.
The symposium was organized by the V.I. Economic Development Authority (VIEDA), the lead organization for economic development in the Virgin Islands, and co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, Caribbean-Central American Action (C-CAA), and the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The symposium assembled country and sector experts from various countries and the Caribbean region under one roof, who shared best practices and worked together to identify common goals and create action plans with deliverables that will lead to increasing access to energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy technologies in Caribbean nations, according to a VIEDA press release.
The symposium included a pre-symposium on the territory’s energy landscape by the Virgin Islands Energy Office (VIEO), CARICOM Secretariat’s presentation on the strategies for Caribbean sustainable energy and VRE Grid Integration, and the IDB’s stakeholder working group on natural gas.
Following the presentations, panel discussions were held by energy leaders on a variety of topics, including assessing the current energy landscape, developing a workforce around green energy, financing clean energy technologies, and exploring how utilities in the Caribbean region and other areas are adapting to a cleaner energy economy as they maintain profitable and more sustainable operations.
Stakeholder working groups assembled after the panel discussions to share thoughts and ideas on energy education, economic growth and clean energy, buildings and energy efficiency, electricity generation and delivery, energy assurance, base load electricity diversification and clean transportation.
The U.S. Department of Energy also presented the “Energy Transition Initiative: Islands Playbook”, an action-oriented guide with steps on how to organize for a transition towards an energy system to eliminate dependency on one or two imported fuels by relying on local resources. The Islands Playbook, which can be downloaded here, also includes templates and worksheets as it highlights lessons learned from the symposium in the territory and other areas.
On the symposium’s final day, VIEDA hosted a breakfast presentation in St. Thomas on the territory’s tax incentive program and led a site visit at the William D. Roebuck Industrial Park on St. Croix.
On St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) led site visits of the Estate Donoe Solar Facility, the Randolph E. Harley Substation, and the Seawater Reverse Osmosis Facility.
Strategic partners of the CCETS and for future Caribbean energy initiatives include CARICOM, The Caribbean Council, CARILEC, University of the Virgin Islands’ Caribbean Green Technology Center, Institute of the Americas, New Energy Events, Organization of American States, Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority, Virgin Islands Energy Office, and the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority.