Public and private sector leaders convened by the IDB to address the inseparable linkage between the fiscal crisis confronting the Caribbean and the reality of paying some of the world’s highest per capita energy costs
There is an inseparable linkage between the fiscal crisis confronting the Caribbean Region and the reality of paying some of the world’s highest per capita energy costs. Covering the ever-increasing cost of energy places enormous pressure on countries whose national budgets are often already heavily indebted.
On December 5, 2013, the IDB hosted a regional, ministerial-level energy conference entitled, “The Caribbean’s Energy Future: A Pathway to Regional Fiscal Stability” in Washington, DC. IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno opened the conference with a regional call to action. Dr. Ernest Moniz, the United States’ Secretary of Energy, gave the keynote address and conveyed his government’s support for a new Caribbean regional energy market. The key objectives of the event were to provide a forum to examine the issues associated with the region’s high energy costs and associated impacts, explore options for addressing this problem, and set forth a roadmap that will assist the Caribbean region in developing a cleaner, more cost effective, and sustainable energy matrix.
Senior-level public officials, key private-sector and multilateral agency decision-makers from throughout the Caribbean region and North America engaged in discussions on a wide range of energy-focused topics, including:
- Examining the region’s energy flows and defining the level of alleviation that energy sector changes can bring to national budgets;
- Presenting results of pre-feasibility studies for the establishment of a natural gas market in the region;
- Discussing how advances in technologies related to natural gas, energy efficiency, and multiple renewable energy technologies help to diversify national and regional markets;
- Identifying ways to advance a new energy agenda through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and shared action by Caribbean states;
- Defining the key “bankability” requirements for the multilateral financial institutions in order to finance potential PPP initiatives in the region.
Among the highlights of the event was a presentation by Roberto Vellutini, the IDB’s vice president for countries, on a new regional PPP energy financing mechanism, and the release of a new pre-feasibility study on the energy matrices of most Caribbean states and another study on the potential market for natural gas as a fuel for power generation in the Caribbean.