Workshop on Alternative Energy
Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre
September 6, 2010
It has been a long time coming, but at last alternative energy has moved into the realm of the practical and feasible.
We should acknowledge our debt to the visionaries, Prof. Oliver Headley, Mr. James Husbands, and others, including some of the organisers and participants in this workshop. They kept the faith in the early days, when the technology for everything, other than solar water heating, was not sufficiently well developed to be accessible to the ordinary person. It must be gratifying to those of you who are with us today, to be at this point where we are in sight of a future where the use of a diversity of energy sources is a commonplace way to power our everyday lives. We want to thank you for not giving up the fight.
Now, at long last, we are coming in sight of practical, implementable options for alternative energy. We have all caught the sense of excitement that comes of being on the cusp of new possibilities which are within reach. That excitement and sense of anticipation is reflected in the overwhelming response to this workshop.
The Central Bank is happy to be a catalyst in this process, by inviting participants at this workshop to join us in setting up an ongoing network to share information and to track our collective progress towards accessing and implementing the available technologies of alternative energy. The objectives of the network, which will be centred on a new website, www.aen.bb, will be
- To provide a continuously updated central information resource and help desk for all information relating to alternative energy;
- To develop a framework for periodic monitoring of progress in the implementation of alternative energy programmes, and identifying solutions to bottlenecks;
- To stimulate and support the dissemination of public information on alternative energy; and
- To bring providers and users together in order to advocate for policies and programmes in alternative energy.
These are early days, and there are many problems and pitfalls in the way. We know from experience world-wide that in the early years of new technologies, reliability is always a problem. That problem is compounded by the scarcity of local expertise in systems that are not in common use. There is also the question of sensitivity to local conditions. Many of you will know of the sad fate of the experimental windmill at Lamberts, where corrosion from the salt air destroyed the generator within six months. If we are to succeed in leading the way in implementing alternative energy techniques, we must above all be practical, realistic and down-to-earth. Not everything we try will work, and not everything will work first time. That is why we need an informed, determined but realistic alternative energy network, to help us to sort out these issues.
I am sure that we will all find the discussions today and tomorrow enlightening and stimulating, and at the end we invite everyone to join in the new alternative energy network, where we can each play a part in the implementation of the vision of an economy powered by diverse energy sources.