General news

World Bank, Canada Launch Caribbean Climate Innovation Center

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
On January 27, 2014, the World Bank launched a business hub in Freeport, Trinidad and Tobago, to support clean energy and climate technology ventures in the Caribbean region. The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) is the first of its kind in the region and will help curb climate change threats by expanding the market niche for new green businesses.

The Caribbean region is particularly affected by climate change, which has a damaging effect on marine and coastal ecosystems, and reduces revenue derived from tourism, fisheries and farming, which are vital to the economic subsistence of small island states. A recent World Bank study highlights how a four-degree Celsius increase in global temperatures would have dire consequences, including increased frequency and intensity of storms, coastal erosion, and declining fresh water resources. Additional research estimated that the cost for the Caribbean could be up to US$11 billion annually by 2025.

CCIC will help local companies working in solar energy, energy efficiency, water management, resource efficiency and agribusiness to become successful green ventures through financing, training, mentorship and other services. “The new CCIC will help turn climate challenges into economic opportunities,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. “Companies in the Caribbean have the skills and experience to innovate and find environmentally sound and profitable climate solutions the region needs. CCIC will work with them to make this happen,” said Sirtaine.

Caribbean island nations boast a wealth of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. With the right policies, this region can transition from a fossil fuel-based energy matrix, toward sustainable, clean, locally available energy sources. CCIC estimates that its support of clean energy and climate technology ventures will curb greenhouse gas emissions by 20,882 metric tons—equivalent to the emissions released into the atmosphere by 4,500 passenger cars—in the first six years of operation.

Speaking of these green energy ventures, Elliott Lincoln, founder and Managing Director of Themba Biofuels said that “We believe biodiesel could play an important role in the energy landscape of the Caribbean.” Lincoln, whose company is based in Antigua and Barbuda, added, “We aim to replace 10 percent of imported diesel fuel with biodiesel and to create more than 100 jobs. I look forward to the support of the CCIC as we scale our operations and develop new markets.”

CCIC will have facilities in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as satellite hubs in other Caribbean islands. Supported by the World Bank Group and its global innovation program infoDev, and by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada, the CCIC was developed in close collaboration with regional public and private sector partners. It is hosted by the Scientific Research Council based in Kingston, Jamaica and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute in Trinidad &Tobago.