Supporting climate action in the Caribbean

A collaborative project between the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) and the Swedish Energy Agency.

Objective

The objective of this phase of the collaboration is to provide a deeper understanding of some of the key elements of international and domestic efforts to stimulate investment in renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) in the Caribbean region in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation. These elements include: international resources that can be brought to bear to support relevant action in this area in the region and requirements for accessing it (including considerations regarding how to leverage finance and investment needed for the implementing energy-related measures); coherence between national climate and energy policies and NDCs in the region, and; national planning status for implementing the measures related to energy outlined in their NDCs, and; coherence with respect to relevant regional initiatives.

Project results so far

The project resulted in 2016 in a report that describe and assess the elements of international and domestic efforts to stimulate renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) investments in the region.

The report includes the following;

  • An overview of the renewable -energy and energy- efficiency relevant aspects of the NDCs and national energy and climate policies in the CARICOM member states. The overview maps the NDCs (what is conditional/unconditional in targets) and provide an initial analysis on coherency between NDC:s, national climate change policies and national energy policies.

  • A catalogue/directory of finance and investment support for energy-related activities in the Caribbean that could support NDC implementation. This includes a review of sources of support (finance, capacity-building and technology) available for renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in the region, information on how to access them and identification of possible innovative approaches to leverage climate finance.

  • An overview of regional policy coherence and mapping of initiatives and of the as well as national planning status for NDC implementation, mapping out where the countries are right now.

In 2017 the report results will be presented at a regional workshop. The work will continue by working close together with the 5C, providing capacity building support for NDC implementation, with focus on energy interventions stipulated in the NDCs, in the Caribbean region.

Background - Supporting Climate action in the Caribbean

The Caribbean Island States are among the most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. The region is already experiencing impacts in the form of increased incidence of weather related disasters, changes in rain patterns, increased temperatures and sea level rise. In addition they face the challenges of dependence of fossil fuel imports and energy security as they strive to build climate and economic resilience. At the backdrop of several oil price peaks and fluctuations since 2008, a significant number of CARICOM Member States have made considerable progress in the creation of enabling national environments for the promotion of renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE). In 2013 the Council for Trade and Economic Development, COTED approved the CARICOM Energy Policy and the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS). The latter aims to increase the renewable energy penetration in the electricity sector to 20% by 2017, 28% by 2022 and 47% by 2027.

Renewable energy sources and new jobs

The region is endowed with a broad range of renewable energy sources (ocean thermal, bioenergy, solar, wind, hydro, tidal and geothermal), as well as a significant amount of waste that needs to be effectively managed to reduce pollution, and which could be used to provide energy services. A growing sustainable energy market offers also new income and job opportunities for energy service and manufacturing companies.

Renewable energy enhancement and improvements in energy efficiency feature significantly in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that the countries have put forward under the Paris Agreement, with many including concrete renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. Realising these targets will be essential not only for the achievement of sustainable development aspirations but also for building resilience at the system level to climate change.

Regulation and legislation

In order to translate these targets into concrete strategies and programs for implementation, significant effort is needed to put in place robust regulatory and legislative frameworks, strengthen institutional capacities (including but not limited to skilled technical expertise) and mobilising necessary finance and investment. Climate change resources available through a variety of channels can be instrumental in catalysing processes that will enable expedited implementation of the goals and objectives in NDCs while enabling the countries to secure their development processes. For example, climate finance can be used to leverage other forms of finance, channeled to build capacities and to reduce the costs of capital and investment risks for new installations and activities.

Funds for financial support

The Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund, the Global Environment Facility and the Climate Investment Funds, are some of the key climate funds that countries in the region can tap into. To date the region has two accredited entities under the Green Climate Fund; Caribbean Climate Change Community Centre and Caribbean Development Bank, and 4 implementing entities under the Adaptation Fund. A continuing challenge that remains is how to leverage and channel support at sufficient scale, including how to address investment and project risks, reduce the cost of capital and generate a portfolio of bankable projects. In the process of translating Caribbean NDCs into concrete measures, these issues need to be considered to ensure a seamless transition towards implementation.