Minister of Home Affairs Participates in Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum

Recently, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. Walter Roban, JP, MP, represented Bermuda at the 13th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) held on the 28 and 29 of October.

The event is considered the largest annual event in the Caribbean energy market. This regional stakeholder event that explores opportunities to accelerate investment in clean energy is usually held in person but was held virtually due to COVID-19. Participants include elected officials, civil servants, regional businesses, investment firms, development banks, international renewable energy developers, and NGOs, in short, a very diverse audience.

The Forum organisers invited Minister Roban to participate in two panel discussions. The first held Wednesday the 28 of October, entitled Reset, Rethink, Invest: Transforming Clean Energy Aspirations into Action, was moderated by Therese Turner-Jones, General Manager of the Caribbean Country Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. Other panellists included:

· The Hon. Stephenson King, the Senior Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Transport, Physical Development and Urban Renewal in St. Lucia;
· The Hon. Stuart Young, the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago;
· Stephanie Gil, the Practice Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean Region, Energy and Extractives Global Practice for the World Bank; and,
· The Hon. Shawn Richards, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Infrastructure, Post & Urban Development of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The panellists were asked the following statement, “Government ministers and regional leaders take the stage to debate how to power back up clean energy investment across the region as we look beyond COP26, and the pressing need to accelerate change. Ultimately: what does the region need to do, and need, to convert energy transition commitments into an on-the-ground surge of investment?”

In response, Minister Roban highlighted Bermuda’s robust regulatory regime, our IRP and supporting processes, and the increasing momentum as Bermuda and the world focusses on renewable energy and other environmental concerns.

The second-panel discussion on Thursday, the 29 of October, entitled Fast-Tracking Electrification In the Island Context, was moderated by Christina Becker-Birck, Vice President of the Cadmus Group. Other panellists included:
· William Chernicoff, Senior Manager Global Research and Innovation for the Toyota Mobility Foundation;
· Devon Gardner, Programme Manager for Energy and Head of the Energy Unit for the CARICOM Secretariat; and
· Dionne Nugent, Director of Business Development for the Jamaica Public Service Company.

This discussion was framed around the following four questions:
1. How can the Caribbean fast-track electrification of transportation?
2. How are global manufacturers supporting decarbonisation of the transport sector in the region?
3. What plans are underway across islands to mainstream electric vehicles?
4. Can the Caribbean act as a model for the rest of the world in EV roll-out?

Minister Roban highlighted the progress made by his colleague, the Minister of Transport, the Hon. Lawrence Scott, JP, MP, with support from the Department of Energy, towards the electrification of the public bus fleet. He also spoke of Bermuda’s ultimate goal of replacing government’s entire fleet of vehicles with electric vehicles (EV’s). Minister Roban elaborated on this by discussing the challenges of selecting the models that best suits Bermuda’s needs, considering our road limitations and possible legislative changes needed to encourage the broader adoption of EVs.

Minister Roban reflected on the event, saying, “This was an excellent opportunity to represent Bermuda at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum. Events of this nature are of vital importance to Bermuda and all small island states. We must continue to have open dialogue and encourage the integration of renewable energy technologies, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and our impact on the environment. ”

“Climate change and the resilience of small island nations are among the most critical issues we face. All Caribbean leaders must continue to put this to the forefront of all discussions.”
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