OPIC to play key role in new Caribbean clean energy program
OPIC, which has helped support several early-stage clean energy projects in Africa through a partnership with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the U.S. Department of State, will play a key role in a similar U.S. program designed to encourage investment in clean energy in Central America and the Caribbean.
The new Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central America (CEFF-CCA), which was announced this week while President Obama traveled in the region, will provide early stage support to catalyze additional private and public sector investment in clean energy projects. As Obama noted in remarks during meetings in Jamaica, the region has some of the world most expensive energy since many regions have to import all their fuel. Obama said that collaborating with the countries of the Caribbean and Central America on energy solutions would be a key step toward deepening cooperation in economic growth in the region.
OPIC’s strong focus on supporting renewable energy projects in developing countries, has already encompassed Jamaica, where OPIC last year committed financing to support construction of a 36-megawatt wind farm, the largest private-sector renewable energy project in the country. Construction recently broke ground at the site of the new plant (pictured), which will help Jamaica reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels and move toward its goal of generating 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030. OPIC continues to seek new opportunities to work with the private sector to support solar and wind energy projects in the region.
The new CEFF-CCA program to support early stage projects in the Caribbean builds on a similar successful project in Africa. In 2013, OPIC, together with USTDA, the U.S. State Department and the President’s Global Climate Change Initiative, launched the U.S. Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative (ACEF) to help provide promising projects with early stage support to cover expenses such as feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments. That program has to date supported 30 projects across 10 countries in Africa, from a provider of distributed home solar energy in Tanzania, to East Africa’s first utility-scale solar power plant in Rwanda. Many of the projects supported by ACEF are aimed at bringing electricity to Africa’s large population of rural residents who are not connected to the main grid.