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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Bright Ideas for More Efficient Lighting

Street lighting can increase the safety and enhance the appeal of a neighborhood or city center—but it can also drive up energy use and carbon emissions. Governments around the world are adopting strict lighting standards to promote maximum efficiency and incorporate the latest technologies. The eight countries in the Central American Integration System (SICA) are now in the process of developing such standards, with support from the Organization of American States (OAS). (Photo: Puerto Morelos)
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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Powering Critical Infrastructure through Microgrids

Massive hurricanes in 2017 turned out the lights in Puerto Rico and several other Caribbean islands—in some cases, for months—and sparked a conversation about energy security and resilience that continues today, in the hurricane belt and beyond. Increasingly, decision-makers are looking at developing microgrids to power the most critical infrastructure and services in the event the electrical grid goes down. But what makes something critical? Most people would probably put a hospital first in line for backup electricity, but what about after that? (Photo: Tesla)
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Friday, May 3, 2019

New Mexico Goes All In on Clean Energy

With a new law mandating a full transition to a zero-carbon power grid by 2045, New Mexico has become one of a handful of U.S. states driving the national conversation on clean energy. Ending coal-fired power generation in New Mexico will bring clear benefits—cutting carbon emissions, improving air quality, lowering electricity rates—but it will also come with some economic pain. The Energy Transition Act aims to ease the effects of the shift from coal, both for electric utilities and for workers, while positioning the state to develop good jobs in the renewable energy sector.
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Friday, May 3, 2019

Rethinking Urban Transportation

With ever-larger numbers of people concentrated in dense urban areas, many citizens and policy makers in the Americas and beyond are realizing that traditional transportation models based on the internal combustion engine are “totally unsustainable ,” as one expert put it.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Bringing Feminine Energy to the Energy Sector

There’s no getting around it: energy is a male-dominated industry. And that gender gap comes at the cost of innovation, according to Kelly Tomblin, CEO of an energy infrastructure company called INTREN and a former President and CEO of Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd. In an interview with the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), Tomblin argued that the energy sector needs more women—and more diversity in general—to bring a more balanced perspective to today’s challenges.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Costa Rica: Doing Renewable Energy for 70 Years

Throughout its seven decades of existence, Costa Rica’s state-owned electric utility—the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE)—has had a mandate to use renewable energy. That gives the country a deep well of experience from which to draw as it tries to reduce its carbon footprint even further. In an interview with the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), the public utility’s top executive talked about the role the company will play in the country’s ambitious Decarbonization Plan. Hint: It’s not just about going green, but about going digital too.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Testing Ground for Green Microfinance

Green finance is not just for utility-scale solar plants or giant wind farms; it can also work for small businesses or even households. A program called EcoMicro—run by IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank—has helped design green finance solutions for small-scale borrowers as diverse as truckers in El Salvador, homemakers in Paraguay, and convenience-store owners in Mexico. Now it is expanding its presence in the Caribbean too.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Greening a Portfolio

At a time when climate change is headline news, it may seem like a no-brainer for a financial institution to offer green loans. But it’s not as simple as just launching a new product. As an official at the Grenada Development Bank explained, it’s important to first understand the market and the technologies available and then identify solutions that will work locally and meet customers’ needs.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Reducing Fossil Fuel Dependence in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Generating electricity can be an expensive undertaking for small island states, which face such challenges as lack of scale and high fuel transport costs. The challenges only increase when a country includes multiple islands—as is the case with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Like much of the Caribbean, this island chain depends largely on fossil fuels to meet its energy needs. But that’s beginning to change.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

UAE Backs Renewables in the Caribbean

New solar projects are cropping up around the Caribbean, thanks to a $50 million grant fund created by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to promote renewable energy. The fund will ultimately benefit 16 countries, with the first three projects—in the Bahamas, Barbados, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines—now close to completion.
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