The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has made a clarion call to strategic partners to work together to execute bold and urgent actions to transform the Region’s energy landscape and lay the ground for faster progress towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
Delivering the keynote address at the 14th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum on April 27, CDB President, Dr. Hyginus “Gene” Leon highlighted the need for a targeted and structured approach to embedding energy independence, diversifying the energy mix and increasing resilience in electricity systems in the Region.
He proposed the Accelerated Sustainable Energy and Resilience Transformation 2030 Framework or ASERT-2030, as a key initiative to advance energy transition in the Caribbean Region.
“The Bank has identified an initial suite of ASERT Initiatives (ASERTives) that we consider will enable the region to achieve the targets. One of our ASERTives is Climate Resilient Sustainable Energy Roofs. Our bold proposition is for the retrofitting and deployment of standards for new construction to build climate resilient sustainable roofs in 75 percent of homes in the Region by 2035. These roof installations will be designed to withstand extreme weather events, while embedding solar, wind, water and other energy generation and storage technologies,” he said.
Dr. Leon notes that the Region’s pursuit of a sustainable energy agenda by efficiently utilising its abundant renewable sources of solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower, will allow it to diversify its energy base, while using less energy to perform daily responsibilities in the production of goods and services.
“Making this radical shift in our energy profile to reflect a substantial uptake of renewable energy is not only necessary to adapt to climate change, but critical for improving fiscal management, and long term economic and social stability. Recent data compiled by the Bank show that our 19 Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) import more than 80 percent of their energy supplies, at a cost of about USD7 billion per annum, which represents around 7 percent of their overall pre-COVID GDP.
This highlights the vulnerability of the Region’s economies to oil market shocks and the urgent need to accelerate the shift to sustainable energy options, namely energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
The price of electricity in the Caribbean is up to four times more than the average price in many developed countries.