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CARIBBEAN ELECTRIC UTILITIES SPEARHEAD REGIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY INITIATIVES

CARILEC (The Regional Electric Utility Association) has secured funding of approximately US$500,000 over a 3-year period from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to undertake programs related to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Initiatives on behalf of its utility members.


The funding has been secured under the IDB’s Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative (SECCI) program.  The contract agreement for the funding was signed by both parties in June 2009.


CARILEC – The Caribbean Electric Utility Service Corporation is a not for profit association currently consisting of 33 electric utility companies, including the Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. (GRENLEC) and approximately 60 Associate Members (suppliers, equipment manufacturers, consultants and other industry stakeholders).  The association will utilise the grant to enhance and strengthen its capability to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives amongst its member utilities.


In order to achieve this objective, CARILEC will use the funding to finance the following over the 3-year period: annual performance benchmarking studies for its utility members; securing the services of a Renewable Energy Advisor to provide expertise within the Secretariat, on renewable energy and energy efficiency matters; preparation of a position paper on electric utility regulation in the Caribbean; the development of a prototype Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for member utilities to utilise in encouraging private sector entities to develop their own renewable energy capabilities.


The grant will also to be used, by CARILEC, to conduct training programs for capacity building of electric utility personnel in renewable energy, biofuels development and carbon trading markets.  Additionally, the training will include developing member utilities’ expertise in conducting walk-through energy audits to assist customers with energy conservation and reducing electricity wastage.


Executive Director of CARILEC, Nigel Hosein, who has been instrumental in sourcing the funding, says the funding empowers CARILEC to support the regional utilities which, like GRENLEC, are researching and developing initiatives to enhance their renewable energy and energy efficient capacity, in their efforts to provide reliable and affordable electricity for customers.  He underscored the opportune timing of the grant, as oil prices have begun to gradually increase.  Projects such as the renewable energy initiatives, which GRENLEC is currently researching and testing, will reduce dependence on fuel imports to generate electricity and create greater stability in the sector.


According to Hosein, the region needs to maintain its aggressive stance in pursuing renewable energy programmes, while working towards attaining energy efficiency and energy conservation standards.



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