Energy Access

STRATEGIC PROGRAMMES

Energy Access

 

 

CARICOM Member States have committed to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide their continued progress. SDG 7, which focuses on energy, seeks to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services by 2030. An important indicator of progress towards this goal is the proportion of the population with access to electricity.

CARICOM Member States have generally high levels of energy access, with several states having over 90% coverage. However, challenges remain in two areas:

  • the “last mile electrification” of households in deep rural areas at the very limits of the grid, where the infrastructural costs for interconnection may be difficult for utilities to recover; and
  • energy access in urban and peri-urban communities, particularly informal or illegal grid interconnections, which have proven to be costly to formal customers of the wider gird, and hazardous to citizens in these communities.

The CCREEE is working to find creative solutions to these challenges. In the case of electrification of rural and hinterland areas, consideration is being given to microgrids supplied by renewable energy or hybrid systems, particularly in Belize, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Haiti and the Republic of Suriname, where programmes are already being developed. Serving urban and peri-urban areas is a greater challenge, given the complex social issues involved. What is clear is that lower electricity prices, improved levels of service, stronger frameworks for regulation and law enforcement, and smarter infrastructure will be needed if informal consumers are to be regularised. Opportunities to address these necessary changes arise as CARICOM Member States transition towards renewable energy, ramp-up of energy efficiency initiatives, and digitalization of their grid infrastructure.

The CCREEE is developing its energy access programme on the basis of sound data. The ongoing integrated resource and resilience planning (IRRP) processes will serve as the first basis for data gathering and stakeholder engagement towards determining optimal solutions that are fit for purpose within the Caribbean contexts. Findings from the IRRP will inform project development to meet the needs of citizens through the Project Preparation Facility (PPF). Insights and experiences from the IRRP and PPF will be shared regionally and internationally through the CARICOM Energy Knowledge Hub (CEKH).