Caribbean needs to invest $30 billion to reduce fossil fuel use

The Caribbean needs to invest $30 billion to cut their dependence on fossil fuel and expansion of renewable energy.

Warren Smith, president, Caribbean Development Bank, said, “This reduction should be achieved by partly securing payments for the generators of clean power sector. The vulnerability to volatile oil prices has contributed to the competitiveness challenges of Caribbean industries.”

In the next ten years, an investment of $20 billion is required to replace power plants with upgraded distribution and transmission. To climate-proof current infrastructure and renovate roads and airports another $10 billion is needed. They can replace 4,750 megawatts of fossil-fuel power with renewables by 2019, added Smith.

The bank’s discussion with local clean energy providers is going on regarding the upgradation of plants.

Investors need to be attracted by amending laws to ensure generators are paid equitable fees for electricity, officials said.

Barbados plans to get 29 percent of its power from clean sources by 2029 and Jamaica 30 percent by 2030.

Barbados Light & Power firm has plans to build an 8-megawatt solar park. The bank is providing assistance to other islands to draft laws and draw investors to projects. Cutting fossil-fuel consumption will cut trade and debt imbalances in the country.

Eastern Caribbean islands are working on the Eastern Caribbean Energy Regulatory Authority to oversee utilities advising governments on green energy development and cross-border interconnection.

The bank will catalyze investments and work with multilateral banks to provide a percentage of the debt financing required at low interest rate. The bank will also offer loans to the energy industry that are subject to generators meeting goals.