New Caribbean Energy Chamber to unite regional stakeholders against challenges

The launch of the Caribbean Energy Chamber (CEC) on Monday has now paved the way for greater global recognition of the energy challenges faced by the Caribbean with a focus on prioritising affordable net zero energy security for the region.
On the sidelines of the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo, the pan-Caribbean chamber was launched in efforts to unite regional energy stakeholders against critical challenges.
Founding Chair, Melanie Chen shared during the launching ceremony that due to the nature of Caribbean economies, most Caribbean leaders have a pragmatic foreign policy, and working with international institutions and allies around the world for the wellbeing of their citizens.
This vision has been reciprocated by the Chamber as she highlighted challenges of COVID-19, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and climate change which have impacted the region severely.
“We share this vision with the region’s leadership and that will be reflected in the pragmatic approach of CEC. This approach is important, because the Caribbean is, and was faced two major issues, climate change the COVID 19 pandemic and conflict. Climate change does not have boundaries. It continues to produce more adverse weather, which disproportionately affects the Caribbean and will take global teamwork to help mitigate and its effects.”
She added, “All three issues, which are interlined, have battered Caribbean economies and citizens alike. These challenges while having a disproportionate effect on some, impact the lives of everyone, regardless of economic size, or ideological affinities. No geographic border can contain rising sea levels or the next pandemic.”
Given these concerns, Chen expressed optimism about collaboration between the Caribbean itself as well as with the global community, highlighting the importance of recognizing differences while focusing on shared values.
“It is time that we ushered another topic, one that is often spoken of but has challenges to implement, cooperation. Cooperation is a mechanism that accounts for differences among us but emphasizes the commonalities that we share. Cooperation as a platform brings attention to Caribbean energy security in a more consistent manner through policies that achieve sustainable impact for the common person. Cooperation that sees tangible solutions to the energy transition facing the Caribbean as an opportunity to work with all potential partners for the region’s future.”

Hub for uniting
CEC will serve as a hub for uniting all energy stakeholders in Caribbean, including those public and private sectors, demand and supply sides will be hosted. The establishment of CEC and its headquarters in Saint Lucia is seen as timely and valuable by regional governments and institutions.
As part of its initial efforts, CEC will focus on key areas including energy efficiency and public awareness; technical capacity rollout – which includes an engineering pilot programme with Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago; grid modernization and promoting distributed generation; assisting to develop bankable projects and looking at a bundling approach on a national/ regional level versus project level.
The new chamber is a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization governed by a 23-member founding Board for the first three years, with CEC members electing a new Board on an annual basis thereafter.
CEC membership will comprise companies and individuals from the Caribbean and around the globe. It is in the process of onboarding members from across the Caribbean from all the various sectors and is encouraging wide application for membership.
Close to 10 members have been onboarded, spanning from Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago spanning the Education, Banking, Renewable Energy and Policy Making sectors.
“The institution is as of two to three weeks old, but I think we’ve done quite well to get the 10 board members. But yes, we are working as quickly as we can, and there’s been very significant support from the government, regional governments and all the institutions that approach,” Chen told media operatives during the launch.
Founding Deputy Chair, Verne Emmanuel has also expressed his optimism that as a regional, self-sustaining cooperative mechanism, CEC will contribute to the enhancement of the Caribbean’s energy security and enable the region to effectively address present and future challenges. (G12)