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 of the University of California, USA, analyse energy development in several Caribbean islands — Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica and the Netherland Antilles — by looking at the history of utility ownership, regulatory bodies 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 energy initiatives can decrease costs, but require sector regulation and a stronger government involvement. Successful solar water heating in Barbados shows that other projects could succeed under the current regulatory structure, but will require long-term planning and a system of incentives. Finally, development of wind power in Jamaica is supported by legislation but lacks sufficient private 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