Top 10 Reasons the Caribbean Could be the Next Big Leader in Green Energy
10. Big investment potential.
Dr. Warren Smith, head of the Caribbean Development Bank, told BusinessGreen that at least $30 billion is needed to update and modernize the Caribbean’s energy infrastructure in order to protect it from extreme weather circumstances. This means there is a lot of potential for local and international companies to launch important projects within the region.
9. Needs for a long term solution to weather.
Smith also told BusinessGreen that the constant cycle of borrowing money for repairs needed from extreme weather events is hindering economic growth in the area. Updated renewable energy infrastructure could help break this economic catch-22.
8. The Caribbean Development Bank is already working toward renewable energy.
The CDB is already working on attracting investments to the region and has already begun assisting in the deployment of solar projects across the region.
7. The CDB is working with the European Investment Bank.
In addition to its assisting of solar project delployment, he CDB has secured a €50 million line of cheap credit for states that are willing and able to boost their renewable energy initiatives.
6. The region could receive assistance from the UN.
The CDB is positioning itself to be a an intermediary for funding for the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund, which BusinessGreen reports should be capitalized with $15 billion by the end of this year.
5. There’s big geothermal potential in the eastern Caribbean.
Smith told BusinessGreen that they could not only reduce their dependency on fossil fuels by tapping into this, but also export energy to other islands. "The other benefit here is that they would be able to build a size of plant that is bigger than what they need for their own market so they would get economies of scale and a lower cost of electricity," he added.
4. There is growing concern about the climate and a push for renewable energy in the region.
“The whole business of climate awareness is growing quite rapidly in the region and we're doing our part in trying to spread the message ... it is good business in going green - that there is benefit to be had from it," Smith said.
3. The Caribbean is thinking globally.
This October, green energy players from around the region and world will converge on Miami for the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum. The event is taking place in Miami because it is a “city which will maximize our ability to connect Caribbean energy stakeholders to international capital and technology.”
2. Leaders in the region such as Dominica, Montserrat, and Guyana are helming renewable energy efforts and setting an example for other countries. The three took the top three spots in the Castalia Renewable Energy Island (CREF) Index for 2013. Their biggest areas of progress are in planned renewable energy generation.
1. Renewable energy isn’t a choice: It’s a necessity.
"There's a 10 to 24 per cent possibility of one or more of our countries being hit by a major weather event each year and the damage would average about one per cent of GDP— but in some instances it's significantly greater," Smith told BusinessGreen. "The threat is getting more and more ominous as climate change unfolds and as the world delays its response to that phenomenon. Really, the imperative of responding to climate change for us is one of survival— it's as fundamental as that."