Promoting climate resilience in Caribbean energy systems

Project description

Title: Climate-resilient and sustainable energy supply in the Caribbean (Cli-RES)
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); cofinanced by the European Union (EU)
Country: CARICOM states and the Dominican Republic
Lead executing agnecy: Secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Overall term: 2017 to 2021

Context

The Caribbean states take a strategic approach to development under the guidance of CARICOM (Caribbean Community). This includes promoting climate resilience in the energy sector, primarily by applying measures in the areas of renewable energies and energy efficiency. This process essentially involves making energy systems resilient to the effects of climate change. Virtually all states have also reported nationally determined contributions towards reducing greenhouse gases to the UN Climate Change Secretariat. In order to promote the long-term development of sustainable energy systems in Caribbean countries, the CARICOM member states adopted the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) in 2013. This forms an orientation framework for national policies. Strategic objectives in this process concern security of supply and expanding the energy mix. The strategy provides for a 47 per cent share of renewable energy in electricity generation capacity by 2027 and a 33 per cent reduction in energy intensity in the CARICOM region.

However, inadequate regulation of the generally small energy markets, the exodus of qualified workers and high access barriers to financing are making it difficult for the private sector to invest in a sustainable energy supply. The energy systems of the Caribbean countries are also particularly vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods, which are tending to intensify as a result of global climate change. The energy systems are not designed for extreme weather events and, in the event of disasters, power cuts can sometimes last for months. 

However, the region has enormous potential for using sustainable and climate-resilient energy systems. In addition to geothermal energy, all other conventional renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaics, wind power, hydropower and biomass can usually also be used economically. Investments in energy efficiency pay for themselves within a short time thanks to savings, and are often extremely economical. In the future, an energy infrastructure with improved planning and better adaptations to extreme weather events should significantly reduce costs in the event of damage and shorten repair times.

Objective

Selected Caribbean countries effectively implement measures to achieve a long-term and climate-resilient energy supply.

Approach

The project supports the Secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and other key regional institutions such as the Caribbean Development Bank, the CARICOM Development Fund, the association of energy providers and the Caribbean Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality in implementing strategies to promote renewable energies and energy efficiency. 

It enables political decision-makers from energy ministries and other relevant ministries as well as regulators of the energy sector in selected Caribbean states to develop country-specific action plans for a climate-resilient energy system. Analyses of the vulnerability to disruption give decision-makers involved in the planning process an overview of the resilience of their energy systems to extreme weather events. This enables them to develop and implement measures to strengthen the energy system. 

The project also supports the development of an effective, long-term regional advisory and service offering by the newly created Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. Among other things, it offers an energy information system and knowledge centre, provides training, and supports project development in the implementation of suitable measures in the energy sector.

The project provides individual advice and training services that support regional and national financial service providers and project developers in implementing sustainable energy projects. The focus here is on drawing up project proposals that meet banks’ requirements in order to secure funding for the projects. The project also improves access to financing for sustainable energy measures for small and medium-sized enterprises. Energy suppliers are advised to offer their customers not only an electricity supply but also other energy services, such as replacing energy-intensive air conditioning systems or lighting systems, in order to remain viable for the future.