President of the Caribbean Development Bank Dr Warren Smith is lamenting the Caribbean’s slow pace in shifting towards renewable energy.
Delivering a lecture on the topic ‘Regulating Utilities in Small Island Developing States – Lessons for the Caribbean’, Dr Smith said renewable energy is the most promising option for addressing the region’s current energy security challenge.
But he noted that currently, the electricity generation capacity derived from renewable energy in CARICOM countries is less than 10 percent, compared to regional targets of 20 percent by 2017, and 28 percent by 2022.
“The major barrier, in my view, to rapid expansion of renewable energy generation in the Caribbean, remains that of the monopoly control over generation by the incumbent integrated electric utilities in several instances.
“Across the region the potential for electricity generation from a range of renewable sources cannot be realised because of the lack of network access,” Dr Smith said.
He stated that only a few Caribbean countries have made progress in terms of the level of renewable energy investment in the electricity sector.
“This has been approved through the pursuit of varying degrees of legislative and regulatory reforms. Barbados, Belize and Jamaica are examples where such progress has been made,” Smith said.