The journey towards a sustainable, climate-resilient and renewable energy future requires careful planning and sound decision-making resting on a foundation of high-quality data. For the Caribbean region — an area spanning almost three million kilometres and encompassing a wide variety of natural resources, infrastructures and needs — reliable data is particularly essential and has historically been difficult to come by. In recognition of this, the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) has created the CARICOM Energy Knowledge Hub (CEKH).
This information and knowledge management framework provides access to unprecedented amounts of accurate, up-to-date, energy-related data all in one place and organised into five key components. In the Courses section, members can access online courses offered by CCREEE within a university-style fully-functional Learning Management Platform. The Documents component is a secure and private repository where members can store their data and share it collaboratively within the CEKH. Users can specify exactly how their documents are to be shared, including setting time limits for how long they will be visible to collaborators before reverting to a private state. The Discussions area of the Hub operates similarly to a blog platform, allowing members to share posts that can be commented on by other members. This facilitates information and knowledge sharing across member teams, groups and organisations. Data and geographic information about renewable energy services and energy systems throughout the region can be found in the CEKH Map Viewer, which automatically highlights individual CARICOM nations for easy viewing. Finally, the Resources section offers curated renewable energy and energy efficiency content from across the region. This includes CCREEE’s flagship report, the CARICOM Energy Report Cards, which provide insight into regional energy sector performance for every CARICOM nation from 2017 through 2019.
All of this data is collected from a number of private and public sources, inclusive of annual data collection exercises; national focal institutions, including energy ministries and agencies; utilities and organisations such as the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC); and publicly-available datasets provided by organisations like the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Most impressively, this wealth of information is available to anyone interested in learning more about the region’s energy sector. To protect proprietary information, the CEKH community is structured into four levels of access: Energy Sector Personnel (including energy ministries, regulators and utilities), Project Developers and Renewable Energy Associations; Academics (including faculty and students engaged energy-related disciplines), and General Access (for non-energy-related academia, students and the general public). Once registered, members have access to the appropriate data for their particular tier.
The verified resources provided by the CEKH are essential to energy policy-making, business and investment strategy planning, academic research and general public information. This data is equally valuable to governments working to decide which renewable energy technology is best suited to their nation’s specific resources and needs, potential investors seeking to understand the current state of a particular energy sector and students conducting research into their country’s renewable energy use. It also serves as a vital source of factual information for the region’s media in their reporting about the energy sector.
To that end, CCREEE hosted a media sensitisation session at the end of CARICOM Energy Month 2021 to highlight insights that can be gained from the Energy Report Cards housed in the CEKH’s Resource section.
In line with the continued aim of providing the CEKH community with the information they need to make the best decisions, CCREEE is now looking towards further enhancements to the platform. Among these are new courses geared towards providing support to applicants of one of CCREEE’s other flagship projects, the Project Preparation Facility. Also currently in development is the addition of a data portal, which will utilise data sets to allow members to produce graphs and reports based on the data contained within the Hub.
With the CEKH placing “everything energy” at our fingertips, it is clear that CARICOM is well-poised to chart the way towards improving access to modern, affordable and reliable energy services.