Sun | Apr 23, 2017

Caribbean to get US$200-million energy facility

Published:Thursday | June 25, 2015 | 6:00 AMDaraine Luton

Noting that the Caribbean region is faced with high-energy costs and that the use of renewables could help reduce prices, a senior member of Spain's government has indicated that a green-energy facility is being created to help in the diversification of fuel sources.

"We have prepared, with the IDB [Inter-American Development Bank], a facility to finance projects of renewable energies in the Caribbean," Spain's Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Jesus Gracia Aldaz, told The Gleaner on Tuesday.

He said the US$200 million-loan facility should be in place by next year.

"We are working with the IDB and the European Union. We are ready to fund this facility. Our share would be $25 million as credit line, plus an amount that is not yet determined, to increase the participation of renewables," Gracia said.

"We have to finish the architecture of this facility with our other partners and then share this with the other partners and afterwards the IDB would be in charge of managing the facility and to make it public in the country, not only with government but also with private sector so that they can take advantage," he added.

Gracia journeyed to Jamaica on a two-day visit during which he met with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Foreign Affairs Minister A.J. Nicholson and Spanish investors.

The secretary of state said the visit was Spain's way of saying thanks to Jamaica for being a good partner.

"Jamaica has been a good supporter of Spain in our bid to get a seat at the United Nation's Security Council," Gracia said while adding that his country wants to continue working with Jamaica.

"We talked about some of the topics, first the Spanish investment in tourism, which I can say is an investment that continues in Jamaica. We shared with the prime minister the importance we place on Jamaica as a tourism destination in the Caribbean," Gracia said.

"Secondly, we are participating in a fund for energy in the Caribbean and I wanted to present this initiative that we are taking with the IDB, the European Union with Spain as member state, and we also talked about something the prime minister spoke with our prime minister in Brussels about a week ago, it is the possibility of increasing our cooperation in agriculture," Gracia said.

avoid project duplication

Last September, the IDB said it was prepared to work with donor organisations and countries to avoid duplication on projects, as the Caribbean seeks to reinforce collaboration in the field of renewable energy.

"Our long and close relationship with the Caribbean has allowed us to gain extensive knowledge of the region's current conditions and future needs and of what it will take to achieve its energy targets," said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno following the signing of a joint declaration involving the European Union, Spain and the IDB on energy efficiency in the Caribbean.

The IDB said renewable energy and energy efficiency can help the Caribbean accelerate its development, mitigate the impact of climate change, and achieve greater energy security.

The IDB, the European Union, and the Kingdom of Spain last year signed a joint declaration that reaffirmed their collaboration in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Caribbean.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com