Transitioning towards Sustainable Energy in the Caribbean

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Since 2013, the Sustainable Energy Capacity Building Initiative (SECBI) has been a point of reference for Caribbean energy sector reform. Under the umbrella of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), SECBI has provided technical and legal assistance to enable governments to deploy new projects and provide access to modern services, thus improving market conditions for renewable energy and strengthening energy security.

Through the SECBI initiative, for more than two years the OAS has provided technical support and facilitated unencumbered dialogue among governments and development partners in the Caribbean. These efforts yielded tangible results in Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago, some of the project’s beneficiary countries. Through its interventions in these Caribbean nations, the OAS was able to elevate the local capacity of government agencies to appreciate the nature of renewable energy projects, utilize the administrative means at their disposal to facilitate their implementation, and utilize legal instruments such as power purchase agreements to enable the coming to fruition of new renewable energy endeavors.

Among its main findings, the initiative funded by the U.S. Department of State ascertains the need to strive for the coordination of activities carried out by multiple financial and development partners supporting energy sector transformation in the Caribbean. Cooperation agencies need to avoid effort duplication and overlapping in their collaboration actions as a means to maximize the benefits of cooperation and accelerate the transition toward clean, reliable, renewable and locally available energy. Project findings also emphasize the need for governments to persevere in their commitment toward energy security. Stakeholder exchanges on these topics suggest that future support should provide for technical advice on renewable energy project finance and build the technical ability of government staff, private sector, universities and educators. SECBI established the basis for future work in these fields.