The Caribbean has great potential for a large-scale offshore wind farm project, says Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Francesco La Camera.
“We have projects that we wish to be supported in the islands on the wind. We have made a request to come up with an idea for offshore wind. I think there is big potential there and also for solar together with agri-foods, so we have many initiatives,” he outlined.
He was speaking during a press conference on the second day of the IRENA’s Caribbean Cooperation for Fostering Energy Transition Investments and Finance conference at Hilton Barbados on Wednesday. He said several projects are already being worked on in the region through the agency’s Climate Investment Platform (CIP) including its geothermal project in St. Kitts and Nevis and Dominica.
La Camera stated that progress is being made in its project facilitation work through the CIP, which has already seen 400 renewable energy project proposals from developing countries.
“The CIP already has more than 300 partners, including all of the multilateral financial institutions. We have started to work on building a good pipeline of projects. We have received 400 proposals for projects around the world, mainly from the least-developed countries, the small islands,” he stated.
Speaking at the opening of the session moments earlier, he outlined that for the world to remain on the 1.5°C pathway, US $35 trillion must be invested in energy transition technology projects between now and 2030.
Giving a preview of IRENA’s World Energy Transition Outlook 2023, he pointed out that cumulative investments of US $44 trillion, with energy transition technologies representing 80 per cent of the investment, are needed throughout the next seven years to deliver rapid and immediate reductions in emissions.
“To mobilise such a level of investments, we need enabling frameworks and a steady pipeline of investor-ready and scalable renewable projects,” he stated, as he committed IRENA’s support to Caribbean islands to speed up the development of project pipelines and facilitate access to finance.
He acknowledged that the challenges faced by small island developing states in increasing clean energy investments cannot be ignored.
“Governments and the energy industry must critically evaluate their actions. We must proactively use the energy transition as a tool to shape a more equal and inclusive world. This means overcoming existing structural barriers, namely the physical infrastructure, the legal environment and enabling policies, institutional capacities, and skills,” he stressed.
US Ambassador to Barbados Linda Taglialatela said the time has come for collaboration to accelerate renewable energy projects in the Caribbean.
“Now is the time for all of us to work together in the region to implement the goals in a reliable and sustainable manner at the lowest cost possible. Doing so will help the region reduce the cost of energy subsidies and enhance its energy security,” she stated.
She was speaking ahead of the June 8th visit of Vice-President Kamala Harris to The Bahamas on the one-year anniversary of the launch of the US/Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis. Taglialatela said the US had made substantial progress in increasing development financing, facilitating clean energy project development and investment and allowing shared partnerships within the region.