Seconds into his address, it becomes quite clear that President, Dr Irfaan Ali was not there to confirm with the status quo. His Excellency delivered the keynote address at yesterday’s opening of the International Social Alliance’s (ISA) Fourth Regional Committee Meeting for Latin America & the Caribbean. There, he reaffirmed Guyana’s commitment to the pursuit of green energy. However, Ali took the somewhat unorthodox route of telling the Alliance that their way might not be the best.
Of course, the business of the ISA is to promote the use of the sun as the ultimate source of renewable energy. This is the Alliance’s goal even as it is cognizant that the use of the sun has its limitations and will most often need to be supplemented by another source of energy.
But based on Dr Ali’s utterances yesterday, he believes that while the role of the sun is vital in any discussion about long-term green energy solutions to energy, it may very well not be the most important piece of the equation.
The President pointed to the Region’s potential to produce energy from several sources including solar, wind, biomass, hydrogen and even natural gas which he touted as a clean energy source.
But even as he presented the many possibilities, President Ali asserted, “The reality is if hydrogen is the future, and the financial implication is that banks and the international community are willing to finance hydrogen against solar, then, unfortunately, it is the death of solar. This is a reality.”
Dr Ali said that the opportunity should be taken to advance discussions that are holistic as opposed to focusing only on solar energy. He said that discussions, “cannot be singular. It cannot be narrow. Otherwise, we will be achieving short-term goals, and we will not be finding long-term solutions for sustainable development and sustainable energy supply.”
Dr Ali said that the aim should be to have an agenda that would guide meetings towards outcomes that are not idealistically wedged to solar energy alone, but to a complete energy platform.
The ISA aims to deploy solar energy solutions, thereby contributing to the reduction of global carbon emissions. The alliance currently has 101 signatory countries and 80 full members, including Guyana. Guyana is currently serving in the capacity of Vice President of ISA Latin America and Caribbean Region for 2022.