In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which wiped out the electrical power supply in a number of countries, the Caribbean’s renewable energy sector could be in for a much-needed boost.
Back in 2012, the Washington-based Rocky Mountain Institute embarked on an Islands Energy Programme to assist the region with such development.
However, Director of Programmes Chris Burgess said the project had become even more critical, in view of the damage caused to countries such as Barbuda.
“We will definitely be working with Barbuda to help them plan out a new energy paradigm where they have resilient infrastructure . . . as well as solar and battery storage. That work is underway now with the World Bank,” Burgess said, adding that similar work would be done in Dominica, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands as soon as the main relief efforts were completed.
Burgess, who has been working closely with countries and their utility companies on various renewable energy projects, was due to meet with officials of the Caribbean Development Bank, the European Union and other development partners with a view to carrying forward the programme.
He revealed that to date memoranda of understanding had been signed with ten governments, namely St Lucia, the Bahamas, Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as two islands off the coast of Nicaragua.
However, he said Barbados and Jamaica, which are considered regional leaders in the renewable energy sector, are not party to the Islands Energy Programme.