Caribbean’s sustainable energy needs reach US$11bn

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A report from bnamericas

Sustainable energy opportunities could yield the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) US$16bn in net economic benefits over 20 years but require investment of US$11bn over 10 years.

So reads a study from IDB that looks at sustainable energy pathways for 13 of the bloc’s 20 member countries.

Of the US$16bn, the bulk would come from higher efficiency (US$6.1bn), followed by reduced costs from the use of renewable power (US$5.7bn) and increased resilience (US$4.3bn).

In terms of capex, system resilience and renewables lead investment with US$4.1bn and US$3.3bn, respectively, with the balance from efficiency (US$1.4bn), natural gas generation (US$1.1bn), battery storage (US$0.7bn) and conventional generation (US$0.3bn).

“Grid stability investments (such as battery storage) allow for a higher penetration of vRE sources, such as solar PV and wind. By 2040, generation from solar PV will reach an estimated 1,570TWh annually under the sustainable energy pathway, compared to only 79GWh in a business-as-usual scenario. Wind generation is expected to be double the amount projected in a business-as-usual scenario, by 2040,” according to the study, available here.

The authors recommend a regionally integrated approach as policy, regulatory and financial measures are common to most Caribbean countries.

In addition, the roadmap calls on CARICOM utilities to establish programs to procure renewable IPPs to boost market interest and public sector capacity, versus “unpredictable and one-off transactions.”


The regional lender also released a report on the potential for ocean energy in Barbados that looks at offshore wind, sea water air conditioning, ocean thermal energy conversion, and wave and tidal energy.

In a technical note, IDB’s energy division highlights the country’s objective for renewables to account for 100% of energy by 2030.

The outlook, available at this link, concludes that “in terms of resource potential and availability of suitable sea depths in proximity to land, Barbados has good potential for floating OSW, wave energy, OTEC and SWAC, with potential for fixed OSW likely to be highly restricted.”

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