European Union through the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) programme has donated €2.4 million or TT $16 million to Trinidad and Tobago for Solar Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.
As part of the initiative, 12 recipients were given grants for the installation of small-scale roof-mounted solar panels to be used to supply energy for power generation.
The recipients included Aquaculture Unit at Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, Brasso Seco Paria Tourism Action Committee, Brasso Seco Village Council Community Centre, Brasso Venado Government Primary School, Caribbean Institute of Astronomy, J C MacDonald Home for the Aged, Nature Seekers, Reptile Conservation Center, Speyside High School, Strong Ones Youth Club, the Division of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries – Tobago House of Assembly and the TT Red Cross Society.
They were chosen from 164 applications after a public call for expressions of interest, in July after which 26 sites were shortlisted. The final 12 recipients represented a cross-section of NGOs, micro-enterprises, cooperatives, and public institutions, situated in urban, and developing and remote communities.
Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis said, the programme was geared towards assisting TT to decrease its carbon emissions, and increase climate resilience in keeping with government’s agenda and the 2015 Paris Agreement.
She pointed to the sixth International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which stated that it was one of the greatest periods of warming in the world's history but TT was making strides in the right direction.
“The government is committed to implementing its obligations and commitments under the Paris Agreement, which includes achieving net-zero in the second half of this century as a national priority.
“This partnership with the EU’s GCCA+, is another step towards attaining net-zero emissions, not only contributing to the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the International Solar Alliance (ISA), but also fulfilling TT’s national priorities, outlined in the National Development Strategy – vision 2030 – under theme five – Placing the Environment at the Centre of Social and Economic Development, while also attaining SDG13 — climate action.”
Robinson-Regis said a carbon reduction strategy was underway in three main sectors responsible for emitting the most carbon — power generation, transport and industrial sectors and work towards the development of legislation to facilitate the addition of renewable energy sources was also ongoing.
The GCCA+ Project, is a global initiative, involving the EU as the donor partner, in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Development, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the implementing partner in project management with a well-developed global network of expertise and frameworks, support and technical and resources.
EU Ambassador Peter Cavendish said, “We all know that the climate crisis is one of the most enduring challenges of our time. While every country is at risk because of climate change, it is a well-known fact that small island developing states (SIDS), like TT, are among the most vulnerable to its negative impacts.
“It is for this reason that the EU developed the GCCA+ initiative to support SIDS to adapt to and mitigate climate change, and to assist their efforts to achieve their climate commitments under the Paris Agreement.”
The GCCA+ project team will also provide maintenance training, skills training and upgrade to local technical teams. The 12 finalist sites would undergo technical inspection for system compatibility and safety specifications, including positive inspection results from the requisite local authorities prior to GCCA+ final approval.
The programme also included an awareness campaign to sensitise the public about the benefits, accessibility, correct pricing, and affordability of solar power as a source of clean, sustainable, and renewable energy.
Resident representative of the UNDP to TT, Aruba, Curacao, and Saint Maarten, Randi Davis added that, “The UNDP is pleased to be a partner in the GCCA+ TT project, and sees this as a positive step towards realising the SDGs.
“The outcomes of this project will demonstrate to other SIDS that the advancement of solar energy as a clean and sustainable source of power generation is achievable in their countries.”