Will the Caribbean Continue to Push Clean Energy?

Maura Barry, the mission director of the United States Agency for International Development in Jamaica, in late January said that it is “vitally important” to support the adoption of renewable energy in the Caribbean’s tourism sector. // Photo: Jamaica Information Service.

Maura Barry, the mission director of the United States Agency for International Development in Jamaica, confirmed in January that the United States will continue to provide support to Jamaica and other Caribbean countries as they work to become energy-independent. She added that adopting renewable energy and energy-efficient measures in the region’s tourism sector is “vitally important.” How important is the United States to helping the Caribbean achieve energy independence? Amid continued low prices for oil, does it make sense for the Caribbean to invest in more sources of clean energy? What new trends are on the horizon for renewables in the Caribbean, and what kind of support would be most useful from the United States?

Johanna Mendelson Forman, senior advisor with the Managing Across Boundaries Initiative at the Stimson Center and adjunct professor at the American University School of International Service: “Support for renewable energy in the Caribbean has undergone a paradigm shift in recent years. U.S. leadership has been an essential part of this process. The question going forward is whether policies adopted during the Obama administration to promote clean energy will remain a priority for President Trump’s team. Greater access to technical assistance, investment insurance and private-public partnerships may be at risk. The importance of addressing climate change for small island states is urgent, as rising sea levels imperil the region, and reducing carbon emissions through a transition to renewable energy is a high priority. Since 2009, the Energy Partnership of the Americas Caribbean Initiative has promoted sustainable energy policies and renewable energy technologies. By 2015, USAID’s Caribbean Clean Energy Program (CARCEP) focused on…”

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