Renewable energy ‘important to our adaptation strategy,’ DoE Director says

Ambassador Diann Black-Layne (right), speaking during Monday event at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Desmond Brown

Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador for Climate Change and Director of Environment, Diann Black-Layne has been sharing with the international community, the importance of renewable energy to the country’s adaptation strategy.

Black-Layne, who is currently attending the United Nations Climate Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, was part of a panel on Monday, discussing the synergies between renewables, adaptation and mitigation measures.

“We do see renewable energy as important to our adaptation strategy,” Black-Layne told the audience at the Caribbean Community / Alliance of Small Island States (CARICOM / AOSIS) Pavilion.

“We began looking at renewable energy as an adaptation measure about four or five years ago.”

The DoE Director explained that Antigua and Barbuda’s passion for climate change mitigation and adaptation was a direct result of an increase in droughts being experienced over the last several years.

“Drought is a big deal for us, so we’ve reached the point where we have 100 per cent desalinated water for the entire country,” Black-Layne explained.

“We went from 40 per cent 10 years ago to 100 per cent. The last 40 per cent increase was in the space of just three years.”

Black-Layne also told the audience that Antigua and Barbuda is in the Atlantic hurricane belt and was one of the first countries to be hit by a Category 5 storm when Barbuda suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Irma in 2017.

“So, as you can see, the adaptation measures that we need in our country require desalinated water; and back-up energy systems are crucial after a storm. We need energy to get back on our feet again,” she said.

Ambassador Diann Black-Layne (right), along with the other panelists who discussed the synergies between renewables, adaptation and mitigation measures. Photo by Desmond Brown

As Antigua and Barbuda transitions to renewable, Black-Layne said the country has been able to access funding from the Adaptation Fund in the form of a grant for renewable energy for homes, churches and schools.

The country has also received bilateral grants from the Italian Government, the Green Climate Fund, as well as the Global Environmental Facility for renewable energy for back-up systems.

“We’re also using renewable energy to have a financial mechanism that will help us to save money in fossil fuel that will allow us to put that money aside for adaptation measures.”

Antigua and Barbuda has been an active participant in the climate negotiations for several years.