Every economy in the world will feel the effects of Covid-19, but the pain will be especially acute in the Caribbean region, where the bottom has fallen out of the tourism market. Now is the time for governments to think big about how to make the region more resilient, one economist says.
No matter how many movies families watch in home isolation or how many hours they run their air conditioners, play their radios, or work on their computers, they will not use nearly as much electricity as a working factory or a bustling hotel. As a result, the widespread shutdown of commercial and industrial activity across the region has led to lower demand for electric power. This creates challenges for utilities—especially at a time when many of their customers will struggle to pay their electric bills.
With a pandemic on the march, economies in near-paralysis, and a collapse in oil prices to boot, the energy sector is facing a new set of uncertainties. How might these factors shape the region’s long-term energy future? How will oil-exporting countries fare? Will the momentum for renewable energy falter? Are there new opportunities to improve resilience? These are just some of the questions experts from around the Americas have been tackling as they examine a world that has been upended in a matter of weeks.