MAHO–The Caribbean Electric Utility Service Corporation Carilec officially started its conference under the theme “Transforming the Utility, Learning and Unlearning” at the Sonesta Maho Convention centre on Sunday evening.
Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Angel Meyers was a no-show at the international conference.
Carilec is an association of electric utilities, suppliers, manufacturers and other stakeholders operating in the electricity industry in the Caribbean. It organises various conferences annually that contribute to the further development of its members, as well as non-members within the Caribbean.
The Engineering Conference is hosted annually under Carilec’s direction. This year some 250 engineers from throughout the Caribbean will visit St. Maarten for the conference. This event is celebrated as one of Carilec’s largest conferences.
GEBE power plant Manager Kenrick Chittick said in his opening remarks, “Unfortunately, we have been going through some trials within the company, but we remain committed to Carilec simply because we believe in its undertakings and goals.
“Over the years, Carilec has continuously brought us high-level conferences and we are certain that this one will be no different. Our basic assumption is that it must be better than the last one. The conference will offer great opportunities for capacity building and networking.”
He believes utilities are being required to adjust their business models to operate in the new world of energy. Renewable power generation methods are being considered while regulations in the utilities have created the challenge of how the utilities must adapt to comply with the market demand.
The conference offers learning techniques, group working sessions, panel discussions and other interactive methods. Carilec Executive Director Thomas Hodge thanked the GEBE management for their hospitality.
“The first thing comes from the primary driving force for most new inventions that is a need. Necessity is the mother of invention. Without a doubt, we have some serious challenges ahead of us:
“Saving our system from natural disasters, burning new and different types of fuel, protecting the environment, dealing with more and more intermittent sources of renewable energy, driving more and more energy through our aging infrastructure, making sure that as times get harder electricity theft doesn’t drive up the price of electricity for paying customers,” he stated.
“We received many presentation abstracts this year, so our selection panel had their work cut out for them, but now we have a packed agenda with a lot of engaging concepts being delivered in the presentations over the next three days. Depending on your area of interest, we grouped some of the system control, generation and T&D presentations in their own rooms. I urge you extract the benefit from these sessions by participating.”
The keynote address was given by Devon Gardner, the Programme Manager for Energy at the Caribbean Community Caricom Secretariat. He spoke about informing consumers in the Caribbean about the myth that there is free energy from the sun. He reminded the companies to make sure to inform their clients that the technology to harvest the energy comes from somewhere and has a cost attached to it.
“Load-shedding is a thing of the past. Most Caribbean countries do not experience this anymore,” said Gardner.
GEBE Management and Carilec representatives cut the ribbon at the entrance of the conference at the end of the ceremony. The Mighty Dow and Ebony Steel Orchestra provided entertainment for the audience while Paula Gordon served as Mistress of Ceremonies.
Source: Daily Herald
Carilec energy conference opens officially on Sunday