Over 150 Caribbean participants along with top level diplomats from the Governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, Finland and the United Nations have been told that no matter the area of focus – whether it is foreign policy, national security, telecommunications – they all rely and depend on, and indeed they all absolutely must have energy.

“We are here because energy is a twenty-first century obsession for governments everywhere. Wars are being fought over it. Geo-strategic partnerships are based on, sustained by, and broken apart, because of it. And so, every nation understands the importance of reducing its vulnerability in this regard. Every nation realizes the urgency of finding ways to expand its options, secure its access and reduce its dependency where energy is concerned. St. Kitts and Nevis certainly understands this. And so do our neighbours throughout the region,” said St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas as he delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of the Third Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum and Exhibition at the St. Kitts Marriot Resort on Thursday.

“In addition, geography has placed us in the direct path of wonderful trade winds, and our geology has bequeathed to us geothermal sources of power. We are therefore taking the only wise and responsible path open to us: We are moving to develop them all. There is already a wind farm in Nevis, for example. Work continues with OPIC for a similar facility to be established in St. Kitts. And current projections are for us to have access to locally generated geothermal energy in two years,” said Dr. Douglas.

“As they have in other areas, they have developed a special partnership with us vis-à-vis solar energy – as can be seen in the solar lighting project along both our Kim Collins Highway, as well as a our Frigate Bay Road. I am very pleased that Taiwan’s leading solar panel manufacturers are represented here at the Forum and together with others, they will be available tell you more about their products – and answer any questions you may have – at the Exhibition that has been arranged here for your convenience,” said Dr. Douglas.

He disclosed that by January next year, St. Kitts and Nevis will have the capacity to assemble solar panels here to be exported to the rest of the region.

“Indeed, solar-powered road lightings are just a part of our move toward green energy: Solar panels are currently generating energy for both our Government Headquarters as well as our ITC Center, for example, and they will, from now on, be installed on all newly constructed, affordable homes in the Federation, as a means of controlling the cost of energy for our nation’s families,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.

He said it was not only the Government that is enthusiastic about solar energy and the largest companies have made clear to their determination to move in this direction as well.

“That having been said, however, and despite the absolute necessity of moving steadfastly in the direction of renewable energy, there are certain truths that must be faced. For example: Even though prices may be declining for some technologies, renewable energy technologies are still not cheap to implement. There remains a pressing need for capital, for financing, for technical support. And because of the newness of this area, we – as Governments, as businesses, as specialists, as analysts – must indeed do everything in our power to ensure than costly mistakes are avoided. Let us be wise, circumspect, and discerning as we move toward these important technologies. And let us – please – let us all undertake the hard work….the meticulous research….the in-depth analysis……that will be necessary if we are to ensure that we fully understand these new technologies and the risks that may be associated with their integration to our systems,” said Dr. Douglas, who added that this requirement for circumspection and discernment is not unique and it was incumbent upon all nations large or small so to do.

“This is simply what responsible Governance and responsible management – anywhere and everywhere – demand,” said Dr. Douglas, who noted that the forum will be paying particular attention to the integration of regional energy systems. which is of particular importance to island-states.