Caribbean island nations are uniquely positioned to become leaders in renewable energy development. How can clean energy in the Caribbean increase energy reliability, lead to job growth, and help the environment? Today’s guests, Andrew Polich and Chad Johnson from Vittoria Energy Expedition, help us explore the issue.
The Caribbean’s Renewable Energy Potential
Caribbean island nations have potential to produce a significant amount of power from renewable energy sources. Although currently dependent on oil imports primarily from an increasingly tumultuous Venezuela, the islands’ abundance of sunshine and high winds make them ideal markets for clean energy.
A dedicated campaign to invest in renewable energy in the Caribbean can improve livelihoods and help the environment by decreasing reliability on foreign oil, spurring economic growth and job creation, and reducing the region’s carbon footprint.
Initiatives like Vittoria Energy Expedition, the Clinton Foundation’s Island Energy Program, and Engage Cuba are working to promote sustainable energy projects in the region. Caribbean governments have also spearheaded clean energy initiatives. For instance, Cuba is developing solar and wind projects as part of its effort to increase renewable energy production from 5% of electricity generation today to 24% by 2030.
Barriers to Entry
Not all Caribbean countries will be easy to enter. Despite the Obama administration’s recent outreach to the Cuban government, U.S. businesses face legal and congressional barriers to entry into Cuban markets. Moreover, the incoming administration has threatened to “terminate” recent efforts to normalize U.S.-Cuban relations. U.S.-based groups and initiatives promoting renewable energy in the Caribbean will continue to face an uphill battle.
We encourage you learn more about our friends at Vittoria Energy and their mission. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Additionally, take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:
- Is the Caribbean a paradise for renewable energy?, David Ince, The Guardian
- It’s Time For Solar in the Caribbean, Edouard MacGuffie, Caribbean Journal
- Cuba wants clean energy. Can the U.S. deliver?, David Ferris, E&E News