Jamaica’s Climate Change Fight Fuels Investments in Renewables

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Jan 292016

By Zadie Neufvillelogo-IPS

KINGSTON, Jan 18 2016 (IPS) – By year’s end, Jamaica will add 115 mega watts (MW) of renewable capacity to the power grid, in its quest to reduce energy costs and diversify the energy mix in electricity generation to 30 per cent by 2030. With 90 per cent of its electricity coming from fossil fuels, the government is committed to reducing the country’s carbon emissions by increasing the amount of electricity generated from renewables from 9 per cent now, to 15 per cent by 2020. (…)

WorldWatch Institute’s Sustainable Energy Roadmap for Jamaica 2013 stated that increasing the number of households using solar water heaters, could save an additional 75 to 100 GWh of electricity per year. It concluded that there was a need to create a “smooth transition” to a sustainable and economically viable energy system. (…)

Alexander Ochs, Worldwatch’s Director of Climate and Energy confirmed the report’s findings, noting that Jamaica’s “entire electricity demand could be met with renewable resources” from solar and wind energy. The public sector has already begun its own programme of retrofitting and energy reduction strategies that is said to be saving millions of dollar in expenditure at government agencies and institutions.

Worldwatch noted that investments of roughly 6 billion dollars could increase the contribution of renewables to Jamaica’s electricity production to 93 per cent by 2030, while significantly slashing energy costs. So armed with feasibility studies that points to the possibility for hydropower development along six rivers, Robinson is setting his sights on the road ahead, and another 26MW of power in the very near future.

Find full article here: Jamaica’s Climate Change Fight Fuels Investments in Renewables _ Inter Press Service

Against the Odds, Caribbean Doubles Down for 1.5 Degree Deal in Paris

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Nov 242015

By Zadie Neufville

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Nov 23 2015 (IPS) – Negotiators from the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are intent on striking a deal to keep the global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels, but many fear that a 10-year-old agreement to buy cheap petroleum from Venezuela puts their discussions in jeopardy. (…)

While agreeing that PetroCaribe could be a disincentive for investments in domestic renewable energy, Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy at WorldWatch Institute noted, “Caribbean governments are increasingly aware of the enormous financial, environmental and social costs associated with continued dependence on fossil fuels.” (…)

“Even if the problem of global warming did not exist, and the burning of fossil fuels did not result in extensive local air and water pollution, CARICOM would still have to mandate to transition away from these fuels as swiftly as possible for reasons of social opportunity, economic competitiveness and national security, ”said Ochs, one of the authors of the new Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) Baseline Report and Assessment, launched on October 28. (…)

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Solar Homes Offer New Hope for Renewable Energy

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Oct 042011

Three-year-old Henry Shales, visiting from New York, takes a close look at a solar panel on display at the DOE Solar Decathlon 2011. / Credit:Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

WASHINGTON, Oct 4, 2011 (IPS) – As a light drizzle fell Saturday, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu pointed to solar houses constructed by students on the National Mall park in Washington as evidence that the U.S can compete internationally in the renewable energy market to create jobs and win “the war against climate change”.


Alexander Ochs, director of the energy and climate programme at the WorldWatch Institute, said the solar industry was actually one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., with 5,000 companies employing more than 100,000 people. He said Solyndra failed because it made poor investment decisions and was buffeted by price fluctuations in the raw materials market – not because solar power industry is in trouble.  “Solyndra is now used as a scandal to set an example that solar is not working in the U.S. or that it cannot compete on the international market. It is basically used as an attempt to kill the industry as a whole,” Ochs told IPS.

In fact, Ochs said the solar industry grew at a rate of 69 percent in the last year alone, more than doubling in size, and at a rate much higher than the fossil fuel industry, which grows only in the low single digits, or nuclear, the only energy sector with a negative growth rate. Notwithstanding those facts, Ochs said criticisms of government support for renewable energy did not take into account the comparatively large cost of fossil fuel subsidies.

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