Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 11, 2016 (SKNIS): During the past year, the Caribbean’s development partners have launched a number of facilities to help governments build capacity and better structure and implement Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects in the clean energy sector.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honorable Timothy Harris, speaking at the Regional Geothermal Forum, said that the launch of the facilities was as a result of reversing the trend of speaking about projects and not implementing them. He quoted PPP Coordinator associated with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Brian Samuel, who said “Up and down the Caribbean, you hear talk about all sorts of exciting PPP projects, from wind farms to geothermal power plants. Sadly, most of them are just talk. The World Bank’s Caribbean PPP Road Map published in 2014 found that only 12 percent of all projects actually reach the tender stage and most never get past the drawing board.”
The Prime Minister citied an example of an already launched facilities including the Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central America (CEFF-CCA) by the United States in April 2015. It is a US $20 million facility that provides early-stage funding for clean energy projects in seven Central American countries and 11 CARICOM countries.
“With the expertise of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) in coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State, the two-year programme intends to catalyze much-needed public and private sector investment in promising undercapitalized clean energy projects,” explained the Prime Minister, adding that the facility “will help the projects address key planning and feasibility issues that are integral to successful financing and implementation.”
Prime Minister Harris highlighted that the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has been assisting the promotion of alternative energy projects with a “modest” US$1.2 million Regional PPP Support Facility. He added that in October, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) signed off on the Sustainable Energy Facility (SEF).
“The US$71.5 million SEF funds will support renewable energy and institutional capacity projects in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and encourage PPPs so that private partners can assume the loans and minimize the risks associated with the projects,” said the Prime Minister, adding that a substantial focus of the SEF will be to provide seed resources to CDB’s GeoSmart Facility, which was established to support geothermal energy development in the region.
It was noted by the Prime Minister that the establishment of the facilities “demonstrates the ongoing commitment of our development partners whose financial and technical support has been a catalyst for recent geothermal development.”
“The U.S. Department of State, for instance, has provided ongoing technical assistance to St. Kitts and Nevis for geothermal development, particularly in relation to attracting even more private investment, facilitating renewable energy integration, and developing our regulatory sector,” said the Prime Minister.