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Nov 4, 2021

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at COP26

It is not one of the most contentious issues being discussed at the Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, Scotland, but today, a key discussion on the agenda was renewable energy and energy efficiency. Belize is planning to transition to greener energy and to ween ourselves off from our dependency on Mexico. That plan, if it happens, promises new opportunities, and challenges. News Five’s Duane Moody is at COP26 and files the following report. 

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

“It’s day four at the COP26 and today the theme for the discussions – energy.”

 

In these closed door sessions, government ministers and experts are trying to balance the energy industry which has for years been an economic driver for countries who extract and export oil, with a call for action to reduce the use of fossil fuels to mitigate the challenges of climate change. There are obvious concerns about the survival of economies.

 

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson, Executive Director, Caribbean Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

“Energy has always been an economic driver for us. It touches every life, it touches every industry. Climate does the same thing – touches every life, touches every industry. And we recognize it is very important for the two to have a conversation. A conversation that is sustainable, a conversation that is effectively going to be transformative, a conversation that is required for the energy transition. Countries are looking at mitigation strategy, but we recognize mitigation and adaptation need to be twinned. Twinned in such a way that we have to have the energy personnel and the climate personnel having the conversation in the same room at the same time.”

 

And so while there is a push for greener energy sources, like the use of electric buses and solar powered technology, these recommended transitions are not without costs and may not be applicable to individual countries.

Gary Johnson

We have to change our business module. It is not business as usual and we are adapting. As humans, we know how to innovate and we should push the envelope. We are a global village and every global village or anything that is a whole, you have to look at the granular level, so you have to understand the local context. Not all shoes fit all, not all size fits all. So you have to look at the local context. So even from a country like Belize to Jamaica to Barbados, we all have our differences and there is no silver bullet and we all have to look at the local context and customize to optimize to drive the transition.”

 

Energy is not one of the contentious issues in the broader area of the COP; it is part of the presidency agenda which outlines key discussions on transitioning to support the reduction of GHG emissions. As a country, Belize has been dependent on energy from neighboring Mexico, through the Comisión Federal de Electricidad, CFE. But as we found out from C.E.O. Doctor Kenrick Williams of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Belize’s readjusted national determined contributions is taking into consideration a shift to greener energy.

 

Dr. Kenrick Williams, C.E.O., Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management

“For Belize, just like any other country, we have to be part of the process, we have to do our part in terms of the emission reductions. So while we are on a net carbon sink, we still have things that we can do in our energy and transport sectors that can help to reduce emissions. So for example, we’ve committed as a country within our NDCs to transition to renewable energy by seventy-five percent, to reduce emissions within the power sector for example and in doing so, we seek to increase the efficiency of our grid, we seek to strengthen our transport system in terms of transition to electric-powered transport system. So these things will help us in terms of reducing our emissions.”

 

The hope is that the transition to greener energy will present economy opportunities, similar to “carbon credits” for countries like Belize.

 

Dr. Kenrick Williams

“As part of our broader commitments, it is to move towards independent energy source, clean energy source. So when looking at our renewable mix, we have hydropower, looking at solar, looking at biomass. So things like our cogeneration plant, how do we strengthen and improve the efficiency within that system. There’s certain research being done to look at opportunities for increasing the type of energy outputs for cogeneration and stuff like that. In addition to this discussion where we are going to see reduced energy and reduced emissions as a result of improving the green energy mix, if you will, we think that there are important financial opportunities that exist in this transition for Belize.”

 

“Reporting from COP26 in Glasgow Scotland, Duane Moody for News Five.”


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