Renewable Energy: A Critical Turning Point in 2023

Daniel Hall

 AUG 13, 2023

Scientists predict that 2023 will mark a significant turning point in the use of renewable energy (RE) worldwide. The growth of RE is expected to outpace the global demand for electricity, leading to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, which is the largest contributor to these gases. While this is encouraging, it is crucial for the transition to renewable energy to occur at a much faster rate and across all sectors to effectively combat global warming.

In the Caribbean, there are additional reasons why the region should shift away from fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy. Firstly, by reducing dependence on oil, the region can mitigate the social and economic challenges caused by surges in oil prices. Secondly, the Caribbean is obligated under the Paris Agreement to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the transition to renewable energy in the region faces some challenges. The upfront cost of RE technology is still relatively high, making it difficult to achieve rapid uptake. Additionally, small energy markets present financial risks for RE sources like geothermal, wave, and ocean thermal energy. Moreover, power companies may have excess supply or long-term agreements that hinder a swift transition to RE. Upgrades to energy grids, restructuring of electricity markets, and acquisition of suitable land for RE facilities are also necessary.

Nevertheless, the region is making efforts to increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix. Countries like Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Jamaica have projects underway or in the planning stages. Barbados and Grenada have set ambitious goals to generate 100% of their electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030. Furthermore, improvements in power grid stability are crucial for accommodating solar power and allowing more independent producers to enter the market.

The cost of sticking with imported fossil fuels outweighs the cost of transitioning to renewable energy. Moreover, the increased use of RE reduces the need for foreign exchange to import energy. It is imperative for governments to incentivize large electricity consumers, such as hotels, to partially shift to RE to further accelerate the transition. The success of this transition requires comprehensive planning and coordination to address spatial and skills requirements, as well as overcoming barriers like the acquisition of suitable land.

Overall, while there are challenges to overcome, the Caribbean has the potential to achieve more significant progress in adopting renewable energy if the necessary will and planning are in place. The benefits of transitioning to RE, both economically and environmentally, make it a compelling and urgent goal for the region.


To view original article, click here.

Leave a reply