Those that know me, also know that I am one of the most passionate people when it comes to implementing new technology, and especially when those technologies have the promise of solving our deep addiction to imported and polluting fossil fuels. I’ve been incessantly researching, developing and investing into this development for over the last 10 years.
I am glad to see that most parties in this election are continuing to acknowledge that the dependence on foreign oil for our energy is unsustainable. Unfortunately, the last debates and public appearances of most political leaders show their lack of understanding of what’s required. Both MEP And AVP had their fair chance to make the reforms necessary but their policies resulted in stifling innovation in the energy sector. As early as 2010 Aruba looked forward to a role of leader in renewable energy for the world, only to see other islands in the Caribbean move at a faster pace in implementation and development of alternative and clean energy technologies.
Despite the strong political influence that the governments in the past years have tried to place on WEB, I must recognize that WEB has done a good job at avoiding most of that influence and becoming one of the most efficient utilities in our region. In broad terms, they are doing a good job in executing their mandate, reliability and stability in price above all. Unfortunately the search for reliability comes into conflict with innovation and it is wrong for Arubans to expect innovation to come from our utility, on top of their already critical roles of producing energy and water in a reliable and safe manner. A change in policy is required and politicians need to start listening to the experts in the field (plenty of them in Aruba) if we are to really decarbonize and allow our citizens to take ownership of their free, renewable energy resources.
Solar power should not be reserved to the wealthy but real financing opportunities should be enabled for everyone to benefit. The large expanse of the ocean offers incredible opportunities that are yet to be tapped, not only by harnessing its power directly but also serving as a place where environmental and social conflict with Wind or Solar energy expansion can be eliminated.
I also hear lots of talk about a future in Hydrogen from concerned citizens; I share that vision, but you need to learn how to walk before you can run. Hydrogen is not an energy source it is solely a storage medium, in order for us to tap into the possibilities that the wonderful H2 molecule can enable we will need first to cover large amounts of our territory and the current need for energy with solar, wind and ocean energy technologies. I fail to hear from others concrete plans to achieve this.
I’m proud of the concrete pathways that Accion21 outlines in our plan for Aruba, only by allowing niche innovation to flourish in harmony with our nature will we be able to reach the goals we are setting for ourselves.