To minimise environmental risk and encourage economic growth by reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels, the second regional electricity mobility conference under the German Agency for International Co-operation's (GIZ), Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) project, was held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
It was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conference room on Monday, 30th May. It was spearheaded in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the CARICOM Secretariat.
The conference, which included a road show at Heritage Square on Thursday, 2nd June, had as its main objective, to create a deeper understanding and to raise awareness on electric transport options and opportunities for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Sustainable Energy Project Officer with the REETA project, Mr. Ken Aldonza, expressed gratitude to participants for attending the electric mobility conference. He added that the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development is pleased to support the conference to build capacity in the region for transition into electric mobility technologies.
Voicing his support for the implementation of electric mobility in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Mr. Hudson Nedd, stated that this is needed in the country because “we are a big consumer of energy, fossil fuels". From the onset of discussions about electric mobility in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr. Nedd explained that the topic caught their eyes because their Ministry is responsible for providing transportation, particularly for students.
He further pointed out that the rising cost of energy is a very important matter for the Government, as the Ministry of Transport and Works alone, consumes a significant amount of fuel in an effort to fulfil its mandate under the various programs and projects.
Head of the Promoting Access to Clean Energy Services, (PACES), project, Dr. Alston Stoddard, noted that while many CARICOM countries have economic projections for the future, they fail to consider the rising energy needs of the transportation sector. According to Dr. Stoddard, St. Vincent and the Grenadines received $1.7 million from the UNDP to start its PACES project. With part of that monetary contribution, the Energy Unit built a charging station on the grounds of the Financial Complex on Bay Street, Kingstown.
Mr. Stoddard referred to the implementation of electric mobility in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as bringing a novel idea to our people. He pointed out that it is critical that our people start to consider the options that they have for the future.
Project Manager for Energy and Head of the Energy Unit at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Devon Gardner, highlighted important considerations that policymakers should implement to deliver market transformation on electric mobility. “Policy requires clear political will and nothing demonstrates political will better than action,” stressed Dr. Gardner. He added that policymakers and the implementing bodies should see that policy requirements are fulfilled for it to succeed.
Other presentations in the electric mobility conference came from the private sector on charging infrastructure and electric vehicles suppliers, megapowers, shared experiences; electric vehicles owners and maintenance specialists; and utility interests - GRENLEC, VINLEC, LUCELEC.