Sir Richard Branson addresses CARILEC 2018 Chief Executive Officers and Leadership Conference

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, May 23, 2018- Sir Richard Branson successfully kicked off the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation’s (CARILEC)  2018 Chief Executive Officers and Leadership Conference, co-hosted with the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited (BLPC)  on May 20, 2018 at the Hilton Barbados Resort when he delivered his keynote address via livestream. Jules Kortenhorst, the Chief Executive Officer of Rocky Mountain Institute, and a recognised leader on global energy issues and climate change, served as the keynote moderator.

In keeping with the conference’s theme: “Leadership in an Age of Disruption - Managing the 3D’s: Digitalisation. Decarbonisation. Decentralisation.” Sir Richard Branson’s keynote address inspired utility CEOs to step up and drive clean, resilient energy transition instead of putting up barriers or waiting on the government to take charge. When asked by Mr. Kortenhorst what he thought was the number one thing utility leaders or CEOs can do to move faster with their own renewable energy endeavours, Sir Richard Branson replied: “Be bold. And start now. Times are changing but the sooner you are willing to embrace innovations in your sector, and be open to new business models, then you’ll be better positioned in the long-run…..Leadership is earned and requires taking risks. Many of you have piloted small amounts of renewable energy in your systems. Now is the time to launch new projects, and push your teams to deliver lower costs systems that maintain grid reliability through storage or other means. You have the resources you need to move faster- and now begins the challenge of walking that path.”

This year’s conference, which is being attended by a record-setting one hundred and eighty (180) utility CEOs and energy leaders, also saw the launch of the CARILEC Renewable Energy Community (CAREC) 2.0 platform on May 21, 2018. CAREC is an online learning community for energy professionals in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the rest of the world which allows members to connect and collaborate through sharing experiences and best-practices in low-carbon technology implementation. It was first launched on June 29th, 2016 through a partnership between CARILEC and the Rocky Mountain Institute –Carbon War Room and the Clinton Climate Initiative with additional support from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and now has over eight hundred and fifty (850) energy professionals from around the world.  It is a valuable resource to utilities implementing technology for the first time or coordinating resources and best practices in disaster recovery.

CAREC’s learning agenda focuses on building energy independence and resilience to ensure that Caribbean countries and other island regions can more readily transition to low-carbon technology and plan for potential natural disasters that may challenge their infrastructure. The cloud-based platform facilitates members on professional development, knowledge exchange and capacity sharing. CAREC 2.0 features the CAREC Media library which presents a searchable interface for community members to find technical documents, recorded webinars, podcasts and photos of live training events.

The Conference is being sponsored by ABB, Aggreko, Wärtsilä North America, BWSC A/S, SOL Caribbean,  New Fortress, Emera Caribbean Inc., Delta Petroleum, APR Energy, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, Itron, SeaOne Caribbean LLC., Itron and Eagle LNG.