Regional delegates meet in St. Kitts and Nevis to discuss impact of cooling technologies

(SKNIS): Delegates from across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have convened in St. Kitts and Nevis to discuss the growth of cooling technologies such, as air conditioners and refrigerators, and ways to reduce their environmental impact as well as their high operating costs for consumers.

The participants are made up of officials from government departments and agencies responsible for energy and finance; public and private project owners and developers, energy project service providers; and investors and financiers of energy projects.

They are participating in the Workshop on Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Development in the Cooling Sector to be held from September 12 to 13, which will explore ways to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from refrigerants and air conditioners; the linkages between NAMAs and Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for cooling equipment; and consider technical policies and financing options in the cooling sector.

This conference will be followed by a second workshop on Investment-Grade Calculation, Analysis and Financial Modelling for Sustainable Energy Applications scheduled for September 14 to 16. The participants will examine calculations and models for actual energy projects; and establish business relationships between project developers, funders and financiers to support the active development of specific energy projects.

Dr. Devon Gardener, Programme Manager for Energy at the CARICOM Secretariat, said that the energy load in some public and private use is estimated as high as 80 percent in a significant number of buildings in the region. This is often very costly, as reflected by the increasingly high fees for electricity for a household or business that use air conditioning. Dr. Gardener also pointed to the harmful effects that some of the gases used in cooling devices can have on the ozone layer and in producing green house gases.

“We need to have a holistic approach to the way in which we deal with this refrigerant issue,” he told delegates. “So if it is that we can continue to address our ozone issues, ensuring that we do not use ozone depleting substances [and] that whatever we use to replace them does not exacerbate the greenhouse effect, while ensuring too that it will be more efficient for us in the way in which we use energy, then we would have found a solution that would solve a confluence of issues simultaneously.”

Dr. Gardener said that this goal is not impossible and he has confidence in the delegates to deliver the outcome.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister responsible for Energy, Honourable Ian Patches Liburd said the tropical climate of the Caribbean region does make refrigeration and air conditioning a necessity and delegates must develop ideas that are “bankable.”

“I believe the first steps of the project should involve the taking of inventories and making projections of reduction potentials in the industrial and cooling sectors,” Minister Liburd said. “Based on the foregoing, advisory services can then be provided for drawing up a nationally appropriate mitigation action with specific measures for using energy efficient cooling technologies in selected areas of application.”

As such, Minister Liburd said as a policy maker, he looks forward to the outcomes of the workshop.

The workshops are being hosted by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Programme and the Green Cooling Initiative, as well as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through the Canada Energy Sector Support for the Caribbean Fund.

According to its website, GIZ is an experienced service provider and assist the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation.