Energy efficiency experts are currently in Dominica to help set standards that will help in reducing the island’s energy consumption through the use of energy efficient household appliances.
Johanna Carstens Technical Advisor with the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP) along with Communications Consultant Carlton James has been meeting with stakeholders here.
The project is aimed at the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Caribbean.
Miss Carstens in an interview with the Government Information Service (GIS) said the purpose of the visit to Dominica is to introduce all stakeholders to the concept of energy efficiency and to advice on to the importance of energy labelling.
“We want to look at introducing energy efficient standards and labels for electrical household appliances in all O.E.C.S countries.”
The team is working closely with the Dominica Bureau of Standards to implement the energy reduction model. Carstens said the work involves stakeholder discussions and training sessions which are currently ongoing on the island.
“In Dominica at the moment we have meetings and discussions with different stakeholders, we met with the director of the Bureau of Standards. One of our colleagues has facilitated a training workshop at the Bureau of Standards. In addition we have met with various Media organisations and Government representatives including the energy focal point.”
Miss Carstens said the economic benefits of the project for Dominica are two- fold.
“At the micro economic level it should benefit low and middle income houses. People should be able to reduce their electricity consumption and thereby their electricity bill by having better information on the consumption of the appliances they buy and so make better informed purchasing decisions.”
Miss Carstens added that the entire country stands to benefit from this energy efficient project.
“The country can benefit from the project on a macro- economic level because we know that electricity to a large degree is made possible by burning fossil fuels which has to be imported at a very high cost. We have a fuel surcharge here and the electricity tariff as we all know has increased over the last years.This project no doubt will be ideal for Dominica.”
Carstens is optimistic that energy efficiency is the way forward.
“Energy efficienty is rather a cheap measure to do something about these high electricity costs that we have. Of course you can look at how you use energy for example switching off certain appliances that you don’t need, or, by having more efficient equipment certainly is very important.”
Carstens confirmed to GIS news that people are already buying into the regional energy efficient project.
“We have talked with a wide range of stakeholders and obviously households immediately see the benefits as well as energy focal points. Retailers do because they can use the high efficient appliances and their labels for marketing of their products. And even utilities that we talk to see that energy efficiency is important. I haven’t had anybody say that it doesn’t make sense of it wouldn’t be useful for them. I am very happy to see that the commitment of the countries is really there” confirmed Castens.
The plan is to launch the programme in all countries within the O.E.C.S.
“We are hoping to implement the project in the wider O.E.C.S. We are also looking at a wider scale at the CARICOM level. We are going a step further because we are not only looking at energy labels to be displayed on the appliances but we are also looking at energy efficiency standards. We need a larger market for this project to be effective. It is important that the manufacturers care about the standards and see the need to produce their equipment according to these standards” the official disclosed.
Carstens disclosed that extensive data collection has already been done in three other O.E.C.S islands.
“We have done some basic research. We have done household surveys to get an overview of the appliances that are used in low and middle income houses. We did this in three countries throughout the region. This was important for us to find the appliances that we should focus on in the beginning of the project.”
A Regional Media workshop on the Energy Efficiency project has been planned for November, 2012 in Dominica to sensitize the media about the initiative.