TRINIDAD and Tobago is now officially a member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) – a coalition of solar resource-rich countries.
In a media release issued by the Ministry of Planning and Development on Monday, the ministry stated that the new membership will provide opportunities to fulfill one of the key goals of the Government which was the increase of energy supply through the use of renewables by 2021, in accordance with the Paris Agreement on climate change. Cabinet has agreed that the Ministry of Planning and Development will be the focal point in Trinidad and Tobago for the ISA.
Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said that a carbon reduction strategy was being developed for the three main sectors responsible for emitting the most carbon: power generation, transport and industrial sectors. She stated that Government remained committed to working towards the development of legislation to facilitate the addition of renewable energy sources in Trinidad and Tobago.
The countries belonging to the ISA are located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The main objective of the Alliance is in accordance with the United Nations Assembly Resolution geared towards the need for cooperation and the mobilisation of resources for new and renewable sources of energy. The objective of the Alliance is complementary to Sustainable Development Goal 7 which seeks to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” and is also complementary to the principal objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.
As of June 2020, the ISA framework agreement has been signed by 86 countries, with 68 having submitted instruments of ratification.
This week, it is expected to organise the first-ever World Solar Technology Summit (WSTS) with the main objective being showcasing next-generation solar technologies to member countries.
The key areas of focus for the Alliance where opportunities exist for Trinidad and Tobago include: promoting solar technologies, new business models and investment in the solar sector to enhance prosperity; formulating projects and programmes to promote solar applications; developing innovative financial mechanisms to reduce cost of capital; building a common knowledge e-Portal and facilitating capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and research and development among member countries.
Trinidad and Tobago has begun a project through a partnership with the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The initial call for the selection to involve 12 sites across country ended on August 28, and the next step will be the installation of small-scale, roof-mounted, off grid, solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in rural areas, community infrastructures and other similar sites based on the proposals submitted nationally. This is a €2.4M renewable energy solar project with funding from the European Union’s Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) the ministry stated.