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Belize Seeking Green Energy Investments

Belize has been seeking methods to improve its energy security and to make the country more self reliant. On August 17-18, 2011, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (Beltraide) hosted a workshop on this topic. The purpose was to educate attendees on a method Belize will use to attract investment capital to implement green energy projects.  Government officials, environmentalists, and other interested parties attended, to learn about the Clean Development Mechanism.

Belize Is Seeking Green Energy ProjectsBelize Is Seeking Green Energy Projects

Belize is implementing the Clean Development Mechanism to obtain financial and other support (investment) for the implementation of approved projects.  The funding will come mainly from private sector partners, in particular from developed countries. There are major incentives for developed countries to fund Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in under-developed countries.

The workshop was sponsored by the European Commission at the Institute for Technical Vocational and Employment Training, in association with Beltraide.  Beltraide is a government sponsored organization that works to help international and local investors establish and develop businesses in Belize. (You can learn more about Beltraide by clicking here…)

Belize is interested in testing and implementing diverse renewable energy projects. The country would like to attract investment in hydro, solar and wind energy projects. It is also interested in biogas and reforestation projects. (Click here for the full article…http://www.sanpedrodaily.com/8-22-11.html)

Belize Already Built a Hydroelectric DamBelize Already Built a Hydroelectric Dam

Belize brought the Chalillo hydro-electric plant on line in 2006, to substantially increase power generation.  (Click here for a San Pedro Sun article about the Chalillo Dam… )  But Belize is still dependent on Mexico for a good portion of its power supply. So the addition of renewable energy source projects will help Belize become more self sufficient. These types of projects are also expected to help reduce the government’s foreign debt.

Clean Development Mechanism Background

The workshop focused on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) established under the Kyoto Protocol.  According to the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM is designed to fulfill two purposes: 1) it assists to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, 2) it contributes to the host country’s sustainable development.

Belize acceded to the Kyoto Protocol in 2003 and became a Party on the date it came into force, in February of 2005.  So the country is eligible to participate in the CDM.  As a developing country Belize is not required to reduce its carbon emissions, which are negligible. But it can supply and/or trade carbon credits under the CDM of the Protocol (Article 6).

During the last year Belize has been setting up the agencies, regulations and procedures required to utilize the CDM mechanism. (Click here to review Belize’s CDM structure, as well as a list of the type of projects they would like to implement…)

Solar energy is one optionSolar energy is one option

Under the CDM, as a developing country, Belize can generate carbon credits or Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits from those projects and activities approved by the CDM Executive Board (EB). These credits can then be sold, transferred, or traded with partners in developed countries to help meet their reduction emission targets (under the Kyoto Protocol).

Industrialized countries can invest in projects in developing countries as a means to help mitigate the effects of the industrialized countries greenhouse gas emissions. But each project must help the underdeveloped country to meet its sustainable development goals.

This opportunity is now available due to the majority of the world’s industrialized nations’ commitment, under the Kyoto Protocol, to mitigate their countries’ carbon emissions.

Belize Implements the Clean Development Mechanism

Belize determined that it would be advantageous to utilize the CDM mechanism. The CDM will enable the country to more readily attract capital for green energy projects.  But, any CDM project will need to meet specific criteria established for environmental, social, and economic criteria.

One of the first steps required in the CDM process was to define the sustainable development requirements for CDM green energy projects in Belize.  A list of criteria that each project must meet has now been established. Each project will be evaluated against these criteria.

Environmental criteria require that the project improve, or not negatively impact, environmental factors. Social criteria require that the project create jobs and develop Belizean worker’s skill sets.  Economic criteria consider the level of direct foreign investment, the extent jobs will be created, and the development of renewable energy sources.

CDM Authority, Regulations, and Responsible Ministry

Wind Turbines Offer Another OptionWind Turbines Offer Another Option

A CDM office has been established for Belize. Its role will include the promotion of the CDM as an economic development instrument in Belize. This office will facilitate the preparation, along with private sector partners, of CDM project proposals.  They will submit such proposals (through the DNA) to the CDM Executive Board (EB) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for approval.

To participate in the CDM, Belize is required to establish a Designated National Authority (DNA).  Belize is in the process of setting up the DNA, to evaluate and approve projects based on the national sustainable development criteria. The DNA will also confirm or certify that the proposed project will assist the country in meeting its development objectives.

The Office of the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has been designated as the DNA. This program is being administered by the National Meteorological Services, under the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.

The legal authority for the establishment and operation of the DNA in Belize is being derived through the promulgation of Regulations to an existing Act of Parliament (The Environmental Protection Act, Chapter 328 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000).

Why Belize Acceded to Kyoto Protocol

Rapidly Shrinking Glacier in NorwayRapidly Shrinking Glacier in Norway

Scientists have observed the substantial melting of the polar glaciers.  They are predicting a rise in sea level of 1.65 meters over the next 50 years, if carbon emissions are not significantly reduced.

Belize is aware and concerned that such a rise in sea level will be devastating for their country.  It would have a catastrophic impact on Belize’s famous barrier reef.  Belize’s coastline and cayes would be permanently altered.  Such a rise in sea level could also inundate much of Belize’s farmland and negatively impact their fisheries and fishing industry.

Living a Sustainable Lifestyle in Belizse

Example of a solar powered homeExample of a solar powered home

An increasing number of North Americans are moving to Belize because they want to live a sustainable lifestyle, off the grid.  They consider Belize a perfect place to do so, especially in certain regions of the mainland.  With plenty of opportunity to harness solar and wind energy, green energy is a viable option to harness alternative energy sources.  And many of these new expats also plan to live off the land, growing their own produce, like their forefathers did…

In the future I’ll provide more info on the green energy projects, as they are approved and implemented in Belize.  And, of course, you are welcome to come to Belize for one of our Chill Weekends, if you would like to check out the lifestyle on Ambergris Caye.

How to Invest in a Green Energy Project in Belize

For more information about how to get involved in bringing a clean energy project to Belize, visit the Beltraide and Hydromet websites.



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