Haitian Senator Thanks Cuba for Cooperation on Renewable Energy

  • Posted on: 30 March 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf
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Haitiwebs recently ran an announcement by Maxime Roumer, Senator of the Grande Anse Region, thanking Cuba for its cooperation in promoting the use of renewable energy in Haiti. The Cuban Society for the Promotion of Renewable Energy Sources and Envrionmental Respect, CubaSolar, and the Grande Anse Assocation have formed a partnership to bring renewable energy options to the Grande Anse region.


The Grande Anse is located in the far southwest portion of the country.   As a result of its distance from Port au Prince and the extremely bad road, most Haitians without family will never have visited.  In some ways, going to the Grande Anse is like travelling backwards in time.  It is an isolated and beautiful part of the country which has remained heavy forested.   Environmental degradation and erosion have not plagued the Grande Anse as in many other parts of the country.  However, plans are underway to rehabilitate the road.  I can understand why Senator Roumer wants to take steps to preserve the environment in his area of responsibility.



Roumer attended an international workshop on the promotion of renewable energy in the Cuban city of Ciego de Avila.  While there, he said "“We believe that the Cuban experience will  contribute to lowering contamination levels with the treatment of residuals, the use of wind-based energy and the production of biogas." 


Bio what? Biomass refers to living and recently dead biological materials that can be used as fuel.  It commonly refers to plant matter grown for biofuels but could also include animal waste.  I once even saw a latrine system (a bio latrine) at a school that provided enough gas for the school to cook with.   Cuba does not support the use of food crops for large scale fuel production, out of fear that doing so will make those living in poverty food insecure.   It is a legitimate concern.



If you are interested in solar energy (and understand Spanish) also take a look at CubaSolar.   Solar energy is another promising renewable enery source for Haiti.  There are perhaps only three resources Haiti need never worry running out of -  art, music, and sun.  Provided the solar panels can be secured and protected, they can be a reliable source of energy for schools, clinics, and other facilities.  Some traffic lights in Port au Prince are now solar powered.  



Envrionmental degradation contributes to every developmental challenge that Haiti faces.  In order to make lasting progress, environmental damage must first be halted and then reversed.  Cuba, Brazil, and the United States, in their own ways, are all helping do so.  Through diplomatic engagement, Haiti can convince other countries in the Americas to play a role providing technical assistance, financial contributions, or staff exchanges.  



Haitians are fond of saying that many hands make a load less heavy.  Thankfully, Haiti is getting a hand from several of its most important partners in the Americas.  Welcome your thoughts.



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