The joint venture between the country’s government, the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) and PV Energy, and will generate around 229.9 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy per year. The country has committed to generate 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2020.
Andre Matthias, Electricity Business Unit Manager of APUA, said: “Once again, the implementation of this significant renewable energy project emphasizes Antigua and Barbuda’s pioneering role in terms of becoming one of the greenest electricity sector in the whole of the Caribbean.”
The installation, which includes 600 photovoltaic modules, is expected to help avoid the emission of 160,860 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year. The modules will cover an area of 2,000 square meters west of the island’s airport.
Matthias said: “The ground-mounted 150 kWp sun2live solar power generation solution on Barbuda will further minimize the government’s reliance on expensive and polluting fossil fuels.” He added: “As the solar penetration increases to the anticipated 1 MWp, batteries would be phased in to assist with maintaining a very stable power system in Barbuda”
It’s the latest green project for Antigua and Barbuda, which is among the region’s leading advocates for renewable energy.
Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code Project To Be Launched In Jamaica
A Regional Project Team, established to develop a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code, among other mandates, will be launched in Kingston, Jamaica, next week.
The launch and the first face-to-face working meetings will be held 30-31 March, at the Jamaica Bureau of Standards. Nine Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago – are represented on the Regional Project Team, which consists of 19 members.
The team is tasked with developing the Regional Code, as well as its associated application documents and minimum energy performance standards for buildings. To do so, the team will review the minimum energy performance standards for buildings as proposed by consultant, Solar Dynamics, in their final report of the consultancy on the development of Minimum Energy Performance standard (MEPS) for public and commercial buildings in CARICOM member states.
The team will also review the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in an effort to adapt it, where necessary, and present for acceptance and adoption by member states as a regional energy efficiency building code.
This development comes against the background of steps CARICOM has been taking to implement energy efficiency measures and renewable energy resources into their energy mix. The much-needed economic transformation, energy independence and security and the reduction of environmental effects from the combustion of fossil fuels, are expected to flow from the implementation of these measures.
Improving the energy efficiency potential across sectors and economies is crucial for countries to deliver not only on climate objectives but to also improve their energy security, economic development and citizens’ health. Despite the benefits from energy efficiency, the current “low” oil prices pose a risk for the serious investment and application of more energy efficient mechanisms.
Nevertheless, reducing the energy demand through improved energy efficiency makes renewable and non-renewable energy more affordable. In a world of finite resources; improvements in energy efficiency must be maximised.
The Regional Code is expected to address all the aspects of energy use in buildings which comprise, but are not limited to: thermal performance requirements for walls, roofs and windows; day lighting, lamps and luminaire performance; energy performance of chillers and air distribution systems; the electrical wiring system; solar water heating; appliances; renewable energy; zoning of buildings, climate classification and building energy management systems.
Disabled Caribbean Finds Freedom In Technology
Visually impaired Kerryn Gunness is excited about the possibilities offered by a new free app that would serve as his eyes and enable people like him to enjoy greater independence.
The Personal Universal Communicator (PUC) app is part of a new generation of cheaper assistive technologies making their way onto the market which allow people with disabilities to use technology that was formerly too expensive, but provided them with greater independence.
Gunness had the opportunity to do a test run of the app with its accompanying Internet-based Video Assistance Service (VAS) as part of a pilot project being launched by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), under the umbrella of its ICT for People with Disabilities initiative. Regional statistics suggest that about five per cent of the populations in the Caribbean have a disability.
With this app, Gunness said, “I am able to be independent, manage my affairs, feel comfortable just like my sighted peers.”
Consultant to the CTU, Trevor Prevatt, explained to IPS, “The service is a VAS. It is built on the capability of your smart phone. You have medication to take, you can call [the service’s] agent who will tell you ‘Okay, hold up the bottle’. You put your phone on it and the agent will be the eyes for the person.”
“If a hearing person wants to communicate with a deaf person, she calls the agent who will sign or text or transcribe what you are saying to the deaf person.”
Assistive technologies definitely make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, who would otherwise enjoy almost no independence, says Roseanna Tudor, Operations Manager at the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD). She described the cost of those technologies as “prohibitive”.
However, as communications technology continues to evolve, the CTU is seeking to harness the opportunities presented by this new generation of technology to increase the independence of people with disabilities.
“The technical revolution has precipitated convergence of formally distinct disciplines…if we are going to exploit the full potential of technology, we have to deal with all sectors of our national community….We want to ensure that our citizens are able to make effective use of technology to transform their lives. People with disabilities are part of that,” said CTU Secretary General, Bernadette Lewis.
For this reason, the CTU launched its series of ICT for People with Disabilities workshops, beginning in Jamaica in 2013, “to raise awareness of the ICT tools that are readily available for people with disabilities.”
Prevatt said, “The basis of the Caribbean Video Assistance Service (CVAS) is really a video relay service that has existed abroad for quite some time but it has been an expensive proposition; you needed proprietary equipment. The technology has changed so radically that you just download an app now and you access the service.”
Employment continues to present particular challenges for people with disabilities. The 2012 Social Panorama report, by Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean, states that while “The census data available for 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries show that type of disability has a considerable impact on the economic activity undertaken by persons with disabilities.”
Nevertheless, “In all cases, the percentage of persons aged 15 and over with one or more forms of disability who are economically active is much lower than the percentage for persons without any disabilities.”
Gunness thinks the CVAS would greatly enhance the job prospects of people with disabilities. “The service would put you on a par with your sighted counterparts. It would add and enhance what we are hoping for,” he said.