2021 a year of progress and optimism – CARILEC
Throughout 2021, CARILEC has remained true to its mandate of being the premier center for electric power solutions in the Caribbean. The Association has successfully overcome the challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic; including a rapidly evolving event management sector, a significant adjustment to remote work and a diversification of its offerings to efficiently welcome all members. Despite these challenges, the Association persevered and ended 2021 with a lot to celebrate. These important milestones include the start of construction of a new CARILEC headquarters building with sustainable energy features, an impressive number of virtual event attendees of over 1,600 conference and seminar participants, and the strengthening of key partnerships with the Government of Canada, the Caribbean Development Bank. (CDB) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, to name a few.
From the first quarter of 2021, CARILEC embarked on a vigorous marketing campaign to promote 12 conferences and seminars for the year. This campaign included the redesign and modernization of all promotional material, in order to present a modern online presence, while maintaining the trusted brand image of the organization. This strategic move was well received by members, as the Association registered 1,635 participants in virtual events throughout the year and several event sponsorships, achieving an overall score of 80% for value and satisfaction of the event. CARILEC expresses its sincere gratitude to all sponsors for their generous contributions to the success of our events and their overall support to the Caribbean electric power sector. The first quarter also marked the launch of an automated utility benchmarking platform, for the secure submission, processing and visualization of relevant data and predefined key performance indicators (KPIs), with more than twenty (20) member public services participating in this initiative.
The second quarter began with a celebration of the inauguration of the new CARILEC headquarters building in Castries, Saint Lucia on April 9, 2021. The event was broadcast live on the Association’s social media platforms with comments from the main stakeholders. Also in April, following the explosive eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Mr. Thomas Mitschke, energy solutions advisor (ESA) of CARILEC accompanied a detailed assessment team damage (DDAT) on the island. The team was made up of specialists from CARILEC, CDEMA, CARPHA, CARDI, RSS, FAO, PAHO and UNICEF. Mr Mitschke carried out a damage assessment of the island’s power sector and presented a formal report to CDEMA and the SVG government.
CARILEC has also prioritized its corporate social responsibility mandate, making an in-kind donation to the kidney unit at the Owen King European Union Hospital in Saint Lucia, in collaboration with the Lions Club. of Saint Lucia. The Association wishes to partner with other local and regional nonprofit organizations to help communities as needed. The quarter ended with a presentation by CARILEC on its Disaster Assistance Program (CDAP) during the popular CANTO webinar series, “Conversations CANTO”. This episode focused on “Unique Pandemic Lessons to Better Prepare for Multiple Risks”. The webinar also included presentations from CDEMA Executive Director Ms. Elizabeth Riley and CANTO Disaster Risk Management Committee Chair Ms. Heather Wallen-Bryan.
The highlight of the Association’s third quarter was the holding of the CARILEC Renewable Energy and Smart Grids Conference which attracted eight (8) valuable sponsors, including the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada has partnered with CARILEC to provide various forms of support and assistance to the Caribbean electric power sector, particularly with respect to the transition to renewable energy. In addition, CARILEC has partnered with the following development organizations by securing grants of approximately US $ 1.5 million, for the advancement of initiatives in line with its strategic objectives, including contributions of approximately 20%. the total salary costs of the Secretariat, through:
• Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Program of the Overseas Caribbean Countries and Territories (OCTs) funded by the European Union (EU) under the project title: “Overcoming disruption in times of crisis: resist the social and financial impact of COVID-19 on the Electricity Sector “.
• Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH: “Capacity Building for Climate Resilient Energy Supply” and;
• Technical assistance grant from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for “Support to capacity building of CARILEC / CAREC”.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the members of CARILEC was held on September 28, 2021. The elections held at the AGM resulted in the appointment of three exceptional and highly qualified women CEOs as directors of the board. administration, an important step for the Association and its members. Newly elected directors for the period 2021 to 2024 include: Ms. Ruth Forbes, President and CEO (CEO) of FortisTCI Ltd. ; Ms. Solange Bertilia McKenzie, Managing Director of Dominica Electricity Services Limited (DOMLEC); and Mr. Wayne Caines, President of Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO). Newly elected Directors of Independent Power Producers (IPP) for the period 2021 to 2022 include Ms. Jacqueline Look-Loy, Managing Director of Trinity Power Limited, and Mr. Wayne McKenzie, President and CEO of Jamaica Energy Partners, elected deputy director of IPP.
The last quarter also marked the start of the Emergency Response Strategy and Action Plan (ERSAP) for the Caribbean energy sector, an advisory mission to be managed by CARILEC. The main objective of the project is to strengthen the emergency response capacity in the Caribbean energy sector through better inter-sectoral coordination and regional cooperation. ERSAP will be developed on behalf of the Regional Working Group for Climate Resilient Energy Supplies, chaired by the CARICOM Secretariat and funded by GIZ. During this quarter, the Association also noted a record participation of seventy-three (73) virtual participants in the Symposium on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) of CARILEC, the highest for several years. This record attendance was attributed to the GIS training on vegetation management offered at the symposium and the expert presentations on practical GIS solutions for utilities and other industry organizations.
While 2021 presented multiple challenges for the Association, CARILEC has remained true to its core values of collaboration, innovation and agility, high ethical and professional standards, and social and environmental responsibility, which has resulted in substantial progress in several key initiatives and partnerships, and enormous optimism for an even more successful year 2022. CARILEC is deeply grateful to its Board of Directors, Board committees, management, staff, partners and sponsors for their invaluable contributions to the continued growth and development of the organization, and most importantly of its members. We wish everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous 2022 and look forward to serving our members even better in the year ahead.