Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Energy investors heading to the Caribbean

Published:Sunday | March 22, 2015 | 10:46 AM

NEW YORK, CMC – An increasing number of investors are heading to the Caribbean as regional countries look for new sources of energy.

The energy landscape in the United States has transformed radically in the last few years, and its neighbors have, too,” said CNBC TV in a report on Saturday, noting that Caribbean countries import nearly 99 percent of their energy, largely in the form of petroleum products.

It noted that two countries in the region, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, have, for years, played a “big role” in covering the energy needs of the rest of the region.

“But, with Venezuela experiencing an economic implosion, other Caribbean nations are looking for new sources of energy.”

It said US interests are in a particularly good position to invest in the Caribbean’s energy needs as oil prices have fallen.

“The Caribbean could offer investors tremendous opportunities,” said Charles K. Ebinger, senior fellow in the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at the non-profit Brookings Institution.

Opening relations with Cuba this year could be “quite dramatic,” Ebinger said.

Cuba is planning wind projects and hopes to produce 24 percent of its own electricity in 15 years, and Puerto Rico hopes that 20 percent of its electricity comes from renewable energy by 2035.

The report pointed to World Bank data which indicates that between 2009 and 2013, foreign direct investment in the Caribbean nearly doubled to US$217 billion.

Edgar van der Meer, a senior analyst at NRG Expert, a London- and Toronto-based energy intelligence and market research publisher, said that capital is finding its way into a variety of Caribbean industries, including energy.

Ebinger urged investors interested in the Caribbean to look to the wind and solar energy markets, as well as the tourism market, “which will benefit from cheaper and more efficient energy”.