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MONTEGO BAY – An energy efficiency project, aimed at cutting energy costs in small hotels across the region, is getting the full endorsement of the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell.

The Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action Advanced Programme (CHENACT AP), which has been successfully piloted in Barbados, is to be implemented in Jamaica and Bahamas by the end of this year into early 2014.

Addressing a tourism symposium and workshop at the Half Moon Hotel in

St. James yesterday (February 21), Minister Paulwell said that the project, which is realising energy savings in Barbados, holds great prospects for Jamaica.

“I have taken note, with a great deal of optimism, the savings in the smaller hotels in Barbados. Electricity savings that range from 19.9 per cent to 26.3 per cent is worth celebrating and this augurs well for our own industry,” he stated.

He said that the principles could also be applied to a wide range of sectors and industries to “spur change and create growth… at the national level”.

“I anticipate that CHENACT AP will result in the development of a clean energy industry in Jamaica that will create opportunities for employment and revenue earnings and greater awareness of and appreciation for energy efficiency and renewable energy, among hotel workers and the general public, that can be employed in their homes,” the Minister expressed.

CHENACT AP is being implemented by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The project was piloted in Barbados between December 2009 and October 2010.

Launched in Kingston on February 20, the initiative will target hotels with less than 400 rooms, for implementation of renewable energy options and solutions.

Minister Paulwell said that IDB studies indicate that many hotels in the Caribbean can reduce energy and water consumption by 50 per cent, through the implementation of efficiency measures, and the use of renewable technologies.

He stated that the Government is doing its part to reduce the high import bill for energy, last year launching a project aimed at cutting public sector electricity cost by 30 per cent over the next four years. He said it is now up to industry players, including tourism stakeholders, to do their part.

“I anticipate the positive impacts of (the project), which will redound to your bottom-line, the energy import bill, and Jamaica’s economic standing,” the Minister told the hoteliers at the symposium.