St. Kitts and Nevis to benefit from energy partnerships says Hilary Clinton

United States Secretary of State, Mrs. Hilary Clinton, addressing Ministers of Energy from the Caribbean and Latin America on Thursday

ST. KITTS, APRIL 16TH 2010 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis is to benefit from energy and climate initiatives that the United States will launch through partnerships with the Caribbean and Latin America.

United States Secretary of State, the Hon. Hilary Clinton in an address to an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Ministerial Meeting in Washington, D.C. attended by St. Kitts and Nevis Minister responsible for Energy, the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin pledged to work to advance sustainable energy in the Caribbean.

“This is the area of the world most dependent on imported fossil fuels and suffering from the world’s highest electricity rates. That’s shameful in our hemisphere, and it shouldn’t be. The people of the Caribbean are creative, resilient; they’re able to lead the way in new forms of energy, and we want to be a partner. The United States will provide a grant to the Organization of American States to lend technical and legal expertise to any Caribbean country seeking to help get clean energy projects off the ground. We are committed to helping you with energy security. We think clean energy and energy security go hand in hand,” said Mrs. Clinton.

She noted that on Wednesday, the OAS, the Caribbean energy ministers, CARICOM, the World Bank, the IDB, and officials from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands launched a dialogue to explore the possibility of installing undersea electric cables in the region to give the Caribbean access to new power supplies.

“Another exciting possibility would link Puerto Rico with the U.S. Virgin Islands and a third would link the islands of Nevis and St. Kitts,” said the high United States official, who added:

“So we have a lot we can do and we have to get started. Imagine a future in which instead of waiting for those oil tankers to come and dock, Caribbean nations are supplying each other with energy, whether it’s geothermal power from Dominica or gas from Trinidad.”

Mrs. Clinton also said the United States will support energy and environmental security in Central America.

“Now, like the Caribbean, Central America has the potential to develop your own renewable energy, but it, too, remains dependent on imported fossil fuels. Countries like Honduras are already working to increase their power supply through renewable sources of energy. And the United States is ready to help the governments of Central America fulfill their goal of integrating their power infrastructures. Mexico and Colombia already support this effort. Integration is a considerable undertaking, one that demands technical, legal, and policy reforms. But the countries of Central America have nearly 20 years of experience to build on and share with other nations. And I know that representatives from SICA met with Caribbean ministers at the OAS yesterday,” she said.

Mrs. Clinton said that there will be need to be some legal changes in the Caribbean and Central America, and there will need to be real leadership and political will to stand up against those who profit from imported oil.

“I’ve had discussions with some of the countries in the Caribbean and Central America. I know there are powerful political interests that dominate your imported oil markets that are very hard to take on. But you are beggaring your countries if you do not take them on and pass new laws that will create a new energy future and free up money that can be invested in health and education and raising the incomes of your people,” she pointed out.

Mrs. Clinton said that the United States will also work to advance sustainable biomass energy. In countries like Brazil, biomass in the form of crushed sugar cane stalks is used to power ethanol distilleries.

“We’re looking to promote the sustainable production and use of biomass. This effort will be led jointly by the State Department and the Department of Agriculture, and we invite other countries to participate with us,” she added.

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