November 17, 2016
MARRAKECH, Morocco — As representatives of the world’s nations gather at the COP22 Climate Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, island states are standing out for their impressive commitments to fighting climate change.
Yesterday, in keeping with its promise to transition to 30 per cent renewable energy for electricity generation by 2030, the Government of Jamaica announced its joining of the Solar Head of State coalition to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the national executive office, Jamaica House.
The system will generate 15kW of energy and is projected to save the Government millions of dollars in energy expenditure over its lifetime.
Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness said, “This project is symbolic of the renewable future we see for Jamaica and the Caribbean. Islands like Jamaica are becoming leaders for demonstrating the deployment of solar technology, and I aim to lead by example, by installing solar PV on the Office of the Prime Minister, Jamaica House.”
Jamaica House is the Prime Minister’s official office.
In his 2016-2017 sectoral debate presentation in Parliament, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley said:
“Everything we do as a country must pass the litmus test and improve the Jamaican Gross Domestic Product. Therefore, the Government must create a competitive energy environment.”
In announcing this project, Wheatley declared, “With this vision in mind, the time has come to begin the transition. What better way to start than with the solarisation of Jamaica House. This renewable energy revolution is not only essential but exciting and we want all of Jamaica to share in this vision and excitement.”
Solar Head of State partners with solar technology companies, local installers, major climate NGOs and foundations to offer well-designed, professionally installed solar systems for the residences of heads of State or Government around the world in order to showcase and promote the use of the technology. The solar PV panels for the Jamaica House Solar Head of State project are donated by Trina Solar, whose founder Jifan Gao is a leading figure in China’s booming solar industry. This project is being done in coordination with the Clinton Climate Initiative and Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room’s Islands Energy Programme.
“I’m so pleased to see Jamaica setting such a great example!” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and non-profit Carbon War Room, which aims to accelerate the implementation of renewable energy in the Caribbean.
Mohamed Nasheed, climate change activist and former president of the Maldives, said, “Now, more than ever, the presidents and prime ministers of island countries, which are so threatened by climate change, must show global leadership by cutting carbon emissions and embracing clean energy. Jamaica is showing such leadership with its commitment to renewable energy and the solar installation on Jamaica House.”
The installation work will be undertaken by US firm Solar Island Energy, working with the National Energy Solutions Limited, an agency of the Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology; and Envisage Energy, a Jamaican company focused on being part of the island’s sustainable future. The project is supported by Elms Consulting, a London-based strategic consulting firm working to accelerate sustainable development on islands.
Delegations from 195 countries are present in Marrakech to discuss the implementation of the recently adopted Paris Agreement, which has been ratified by more than 100 countries. Renewable energy, particularly solar, is a major force in reducing carbon emissions and the targets outlined in the agreement. Many projects identified at COP22 seem likely to be initiated because they make sense economically, in addition to having positive environmental impacts.