Objectives of the session:
To define green growth in the context of the provision of energy services in the Caribbean,
discuss promising developments for clean and renewable energy sources in the region, and the
overall challenges of diversifying the region’s dependence on imported petroleum?
Key messages of the panel to participants:
There are abundant energy resources in the region – domestic solar, wind, and hydro and
regional gas and geothermal – that could be developed at costs that are less than what most
countries are paying and that significant energy efficiency potential has not been tapped.
Operating renewable energy systems is more complicated than conventional diesel, requiring
detailed analyses and the development of human resource skills, presenting an opportunity for
government and donor assistance.
Barriers to clean energy development include: the lack of regional integration and cooperation in
the energy sector; unfamiliarity with new technologies and corresponding management systems;
the lack of appropriate incentives and regulations; and inadequate or inappropriate financing.
Why hasn’t there been greater uptake of solar and other renewables in the Caribbean in light of
high electricity tariffs? Consensus was that the answer lies in the barriers outlined above, plus the
lack of appropriate business models and marketing strategies by the private sector.
How can the region afford to subsidize renewable energy when there are unmet energy social
needs and when energy prices are still way too high? Consensus was that many renewables
have become less expensive than conventional diesel, but that renewable energy markets have
not reached a level of maturity in the region for widespread deployment.
The key energy challenge and solution for the region is greater regional cooperation and
integration, involving the major energy suppliers and employing innovative financing, government
policies, and market strategies.