OECS Solar Dialogue highlights the importance of decentralised renewable energy to reach climate goals in the Eastern Caribbean
7 September 2021 – The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge, and the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) organised the dialogue on Advancing Policy & Mobilising Investment: The Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge which took place virtually on 2 September 2021. The event was supported by the Caribbean NDC Finance Initiative (NDCFI), the GIZ, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and GET.invest, a European programme that mobilises investments in decentralised renewable energy (DRE), supported by the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Austria.
The event attracted over 400 registrations from the private and public sector including technology providers, project developers, philanthropies, investors, international funding partners and policymakers. Industry experts brought deep insights on the role of DRE in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Eastern Caribbean, as well as on the enabling environment for DRE solutions to thrive in the region.
The dialogue demonstrated that DRE technologies were fundamental in harnessing the vast renewable energy potential, delivering vast socio-economic benefits and increasing energy autonomy and diversification in the Eastern Caribbean, thereby reducing energy prices and dependency on fossil fuels. DRE solutions are also key to support regional governments achieve their climate change ambitions and boost their resilience against extreme weather events.
Bogdan Stefanescu, Team Leader of Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM stated that: “Our engagement with the region has shown that clean renewable energy, under its many forms, is a priority for both the Caribbean and the European Union. Thus, we will be happy to engage in discussions under our Green Deal Partnership – to find areas, means and instruments to further collaborating in reaching, and going beyond the energy objectives set by the Paris Agreement.”
The event also highlighted NDCFI’s Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge – a bold and exciting new renewable energy initiative set in motion this year to support Caribbean governments accelerate the uptake of solar energy in the region. In view of this, the dialogue addressed key opportunities provided by the initiative and the different ways to get involved.
Devon Gardner, Head of the Energy Unit at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat underlined that: “The high solar potential within Eastern Caribbean States offers clear and present opportunities for integration into the power, heating and cooling sectors. The Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge provides a platform for innovative approaches that address the fundamental challenges of security in energy supplies and pricing across a range of key economic and social sectors, critical to our sustainable development, whilst improving the contribution of the region to climate abatement.”
The event also shared practical insights for domestic and international DRE companies and investors to enter or scale up in the Eastern Caribbean market, with a focus on innovative technologies and business models, policy frameworks and financial opportunities. In addition, the virtual GET.invest Matchmaking session allowed 50 participants to meet relevant business partners in the region.
David Lecoque, CEO of ARE said: “We are honoured to be the co-organiser of the OECS Solar Dialogue alongside regional partners on concretely advancing policy and mobilising investment in the Eastern Caribbean region while supporting domestic businesses, national associations and governments in their efforts to achieve SDGs by 2030. We must build on the fruitful discussions to ignite massive and rapid deployment of DRE across the Eastern Caribbean.”