IDB Champions Caribbean’s Transition to Resilient Renewable Energy at CREF 2019

The Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF) is taking place in Miami this week. The Inter-American Development Bank is a major sponsor and will host sessions on the Blue Economy and on electric vehicles. I am not completely “sold” on the Blue Economy; I think the Caribbean may have already missed the boat, and where exactly does the sustainability come in? Our coastal resources are already depleted and worn out. And where are we heading on electric mobility? I think we may have some way to go there. 

Be that as it may, I hope this summit goes well. On renewable energy, we are making strides but more needs to be done – and faster.

IDB to Champion Caribbean’s Transition to Resilient Renewable Energy at CREF 2019

Kingston, Jamaica, 14 October 2019. More than 400 participants, including government officials, power sector executives, electric mobility experts, donors, investors and auto industry representatives, have registered to attend the 11th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF), the region’s largest annual clean energy summit. The forum will be held at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami 16-18 October.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a major sponsor of CREF 2019, is partnering with forum organizer, New Energy Events, to host Blue Economy Caribbean on 15 October and an Electric Mobility Workshop on 16 October as flagship pre-CREF capacity building events.

Blue Economy Caribbean 2019 will bring together government officials, multilateral financial institutions and the private sector to support the development of a sustainable market that effectively leverages and protects coastal resources. Marine renewables, financing tools and winning projects from IDB Lab’s Blue Tech challenge are among the items on the agenda.

Xavier Gordon of Canadian energy consultants Xergy leads a seminar detailing the results of an electric vehicle study at the IDB offices in Kingston. (Photo: IDB)

IDB General Manager, Country Department Caribbean Group and Country Representative for Jamaica, Therese Turner-Jones, said the IDB is pleased to be sponsoring CREF this year. “Energy is crucial to the development of the region, especially given its vulnerabilities. Renewables are pivotal in promoting resilience, a cleaner environment and more productive societies, thereby contributing significantly to the economic development and prosperity of the region’s people.”

With the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) e-vehicle, outside the IDB office in Kingston. (Photo: IDB)

The IDB’s role supporting governments of Latin American and the Caribbean in the transition to electric mobility will feature prominently at CREF 2019. A key deliverable on the topic of electric mobility is to develop a detailed action plan for Caribbean governments, businesses, civil society, and international donors.

In Jamaica, for example, the IDB will seek to leverage best practices developed across the region for the design of an electromobility framework that optimizes the benefits of battery electric vehicle (BEV) adoption. “We are working with the Jamaican government to develop a strategic framework for electric mobility to inform policy and support a seamless transition,” Turner-Jones added.

The IDB will also be hosting a private Ministerial Breakfast, to which government ministers participating in CREF will be invited alongside donor agencies and regional power utility executives. They include Fayval Williams, Wilfred Abrahams and Walter Roban, cabinet ministers representing Jamaica, Barbados and Bermuda, respectively. This session will focus on renewable energy and resiliency in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

IDB energy projects in the Caribbean focus on developing renewable sources to diversify power matrices, promoting energy efficiency, improving energy security and strengthening governance of the sector.

IDB's Senior Regional Energy Specialist, Dr. Malaika Masson.
IDB’s Senior Regional Energy Specialist, Dr. Malaika Masson. (Photo: IDB)

“The IDB’s sponsorship of and robust participation in CREF 2019 reflects our commitment to supporting governments of the Caribbean at a really crucial time,” said Senior Regional Energy Specialist Dr. Malaika Masson. “The challenge for us as a development bank and as a region is to ensure we help make the region as resilient as possible the impacts of climate change. To this end, we can build on positive trends we’re seeing in renewable energy deployment, electric mobility and growing citizen participation in the energy sector.”

IDB representatives participating in CREF will share research and data on regional progress towards renewable energy targets, balancing utility-scale and distributed renewable generation, offshore and geothermal energy, electric mobility, energy efficiency and financing clean energy for more resilient islands. The IDB will also showcase energy sector opportunities for the private sector at a symposium hosted by the Consulate General of Canada in Miami.

CREF 2019 will also feature panels about Jamaica’s recently commissioned Paradise Park solar farm, block chain for energy, the critical relationship between regulators and utilities, blended finance, natural gas, offshore energy and the future of renewables. The forum will close with an outlook on “Tomorrow’s Leaders: A Vision for the Future,” to showcase up-and-coming renewable energy talent working in the region.

CREF was launched to catalyze investment in clean and resilient energy infrastructure across the Caribbean. It has grown to become the largest annual gathering of energy sector stakeholders in the region. CREF 2018 brought together 550 delegates, including senior government officials from over 20 Caribbean jurisdictions.

University of Technology students read the output from an inverter at the JPS Solar Lab
University of Technology students read the output from an inverter at the JPS Solar Lab. (Photo: IDB)

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sectors.

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