PublicationJournal Article Renewable energy sector development in the Caribbean: Current trends and lessons from history

September 9, 2013
Publication Type:
Journal Article

Island regions and iso­lated com­mu­ni­ties rep­re­sent an under­stud­ied area of not only clean energy devel­op­ment but also of inno­va­tion. Caribbean states have for some time shown inter­est in devel­op­ing a regional sus­tain­able energy pol­icy and in imple­ment­ing mea­sures which could help to pro­tect its mem­ber states from volatile oil mar­kets while pro­mot­ing reliance on local resources. Here we exam­ine four case stud­ies of renew­able energy advance­ments being made by pub­lic util­ity com­pa­nies and inde­pen­dent energy com­pa­nies in the Caribbean. We attempt to locate renew­able energy advances in a broader his­tor­i­cal frame­work of energy sec­tor devel­op­ment, indi­cat­ing a few pol­icy lessons. We find that dif­fer­ent degrees of reg­u­la­tory and leg­isla­tive sophis­ti­ca­tion have evolved in dif­fer­ent islands. Islands should have spe­cial­ized pol­icy focus, con­trast­ing the ad-​​hoc nature of cur­rent regional energy pol­icy dis­cus­sion. We also con­duct a cost ben­e­fit analy­sis which shows that these early, inno­v­a­tive alter­na­tive energy projects show them­selves to be both prof­itable and sig­nif­i­cant sources of emis­sions reduc­tion and job cre­ation. This lends sup­port to the poten­tial ben­e­fits of regional energy policy.

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