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Renewable Energy in the Caribbean: Current Trends and Lessons from History

Island regions are largely dependent on imported oil for power generation. Local governments support renewable sources to limit exposure to volatile oil markets, but barriers hinder the development of a strong renewable energy sector.

In an article in Energy Policy, Rebekah Shirley and Daniel Kammen othe University of California, USA, analyse energy development in several Caribbean islands — Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica and the Netherland Antilles — by looking athe history of utility ownership, regulatorbodies and renewable energy projects. Renewables are found to be cost effective, a source of jobs and emissions reductions. In Grenada, with a foreign-owned power company and no regulatory body in place, domestic electricity is the most expensive in the Caribbean. Local photovoltaic energinitiatives can decrease costs, but requirsector regulation and a stronger governmeninvolvement. Successful solar water heating in Barbados shows that other projects could succeed under the current regulatorstructure, but will require long-term planning and a system of incentives. Finallydevelopment of wind power in Jamaica is supported by legislation but lacks sufficienprivate investments whereas it would benefit from an official energy policy in the Netherland Antilles.

Link to Article (pdf) by Rebekah Shirley and Daniel Kammen, University of Berkeley

Credit: Monica Contestabile, Nature

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