New skills training and funding partnerships are paving the way to advance the renewables transition in the Caribbean.
More than 200 people from six eastern Caribbean nations have just completed training in solar photovoltaic installation and system inspection in what is a key step to building a renewables skills base in the region.
The training event, said to be the single largest in renewable energy in the Caribbean region to date, was implemented by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission on behalf of the Caribbean Development Bank. Funding was provided by the European Union and the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.
The six-month programme was originally conceptualised to be an in-person course, but ultimately was delivered virtually due to the virus response imposed restrictions.
“Our vulnerability to the looming threat from climate change must put us into mitigation actions that are based on zero carbon energy sources,” said Dr. Didacus Jules, director general of the OECS at the graduation ceremony.
“With the solar industry expected to grow and develop in the Eastern Caribbean, strengthening the human resources for solar energy in the OECS will facilitate wider diffusion of solar technology to support other industries such as agriculture, manufacturing tourism and transportation.”
The 228 participants were drawn from the six of the OECS member states, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and from both the public and private sectors.
Topics ranged from the design and installation of PV systems to their operation and maintenance, with advanced training on issues such as safety for inspectors.
New funding opportunities
A new partnership between IRENA and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is set to enhance access to finance in the Caribbean and broader Latin American region. Its intention is to support the creation of market conditions that are conducive to renewable energy investments and that facilitate the development of renewable energy projects.
The partnership is built around knowledge sharing in the context of promoting regional integration, renewable energy investment, finance and risk mitigation in the Latin America and the Caribbean. In particular, the two parties will support each other’s initiatives such as IDB’s Energy Hub and the IRENA’s Climate Investment Platform, which aims to mobilise climate capital to support the realisation of climate-related targets.
IRENA also joins the LAC Energy Hub digital platform that is intended as a central data and information repository for the region.
Previously IRENA and the IDB have partnered on the Renewable Energy Latin America and Caribbean initiative, which aims to promote regional cooperation towards a 70% renewable energy target by 2030.
IRENA also in a partnership with the Caricom Development Fund to support the energy transition in the Caribbean.