Expensive oil imports drive renewable energy ambitions in the Caribbean
High electricity cost are seen as a major threat to competitiveness in caribbean countries. There is a latent advantage to switching to alternative energy for these countries.
As stated by Dr Warren Smith, president of the Caribbean Development Bank in a recent news release, “The high price of electricity is a major source of our region’s uncompetitiveness, and of our vulnerability to external shocks,” Smith said. “We can increase our energy independence substantially; reduce the cost of energy; and in the process, create a whole new industry based on a new paradigm.”
Countries in the Caribbean are deeply dependant on oil imports for their electricity generation. This negatively impacts the costs and productivities for the regions in the area.
“High levels of debt to GDP and depletion of foreign reserves are directly related to this dependence on imported oil. High electricity prices erode the competitiveness of the regional economies and, therefore, their ability to earn the required foreign exchange to pay for imports, including oil,” Smith said. “Unless we can substantially reduce energy costs, we will not succeed in improving our competitiveness and reducing our vulnerability to external shocks.”
As stated in the article, these regions are actually rich in other energy sources such as hydroelectric and geothermal. There are so much of these resources available that their own demands could be covered and have plenty more for export.
In a final remark, Dr. Smith said that “Guyana alone has enough renewable energy potential, mainly in the form of hydro-power to meet all of its electricity requirements for the foreseeable future; supply all of the needs of immediate neighbours, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago; and still have enough left over to sell to neighbouring Brazil,” he said. “The situation is similar for Suriname.”
Source: Caribbean Journal Website