Regional forum exploring electricity, power issues comes to Cayman

Three-day CARILEC conference to be held in Cayman next week

Energy efficiency, public-private energy projects and “a new paradigm” for power generation are on the agenda at next week’s three-day Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corp. gathering at the Marriott resort.

Known as CARILEC, the group will mark the 50th anniversary of Cayman’s electricity provider, the Caribbean Utilities Company. The conference will draw up to 125 CEOs and finance executives from the region, Europe and North and South America under the theme “Power. People. Partnership.”

CARILEC was created in 1989 as part of an electric utilities modernization effort by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Virginia-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which represents more than 900 U.S. electric cooperatives.

The corporation’s 14-member board of directors comprises executives from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Dominica, St. Vincent, the British Virgin Islands and Belize, as well as a representative from Caribbean utility owners Canada’s Fortis and its Turks and Caicos subsidiary Fortis TCI.

CARILEC lists 96 members – 34 electric utilities, 56 companies involved in servicing the electric-utility business and six affiliates – and says it “plays a vital role in providing … members with quality industry-related training, technical reports, research, information sharing and disaster-recovery assistance.”

21 speakers

The May 15-18 conference will feature 21 speakers and offer a five-member panel discussion on the conference theme. The gathering will break into focused meetings of full-member CEOs, associate and affiliate members, and the CARILEC annual general meeting. Keynote speaker Henrietta Elizabeth Thompson of Barbados will address the theme at the Sunday evening opening.

Ms. Thompson is a former elected parliamentarian and served in Barbados’s portfolios of Energy and Environment, sparking legislation governing the offshore oil sector, developing what is described as the first national green-economy policy in the Americas and spearheading the country’s sustainable-energy policy. She also guided a study of moving Barbados’s public transport and commercial vehicle fleets from petrol to renewables.

She has also served as assistant secretary general of the U.N. and as executive coordinator of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.

On Wednesday, CUC’s Engineering and Business Development Manager Sacha Tibbetts will address the conference on “Systems and Technology at Caribbean Utilities Past, Present and Future.”

Celebrating CUC’s 50th anniversary

While the company declined to offer a summary of the address, CARILEC has made much of CUC’s 50th anniversary and Mr. Tibbetts appears poised to review its growth and development since 1966.

In a formal statement, CUC President and CEO Richard Hew said, “This conference is one of CARILEC’s esteemed conferences, and I am very pleased that CUC has the opportunity to co-host this event along with the celebration of our 50th anniversary.

“Over 120 delegates attending have the opportunity to explore our island and enjoy our famous Caymanian hospitality,” Mr. Hew said.

First in Cayman since 1994

CARILEC Executive Director Thomas Hodge said the conference was first held in Cayman in 1994, when CUC joined the organization, and again in 2009, CARILEC’s 20th anniversary.

“This third conference shows the unwavering support CUC has towards the development of Caribbean utilities and energy growth in the region,” he said. “We are honored to host this event in Grand Cayman as our co-host CUC celebrates 50 years of service. We applaud CUC on achieving this grand milestone, and we are proud of the contribution that they have made to enrich the lives of the people of the Cayman Islands.”