Central America and the Caribbean have plans to invest US$3.3 billion in smart grid infrastructure over the next decade. This is part of a plan to lower the high cost of electricity in the region by using more renewable energy and tackling high non-technical losses.
“The Central America and Caribbean region is endowed with a wealth of untapped renewable energy resources. Smart grid infrastructure investment is critical to incorporating solar, wind and other renewables into the existing grid,” said Ben Gardner, President of Northeast Group.
“Additionally, the region’s transmission and distribution losses average nearly 20%, largely due to rampant electricity theft. This is among the worst rates in the world, behind only Africa and South Asia. Incorporating more renewable generation capacity and reducing losses can help bring down the region’s high electricity prices.”
Investments in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Costa Rica will account for the largest portion of the spend, followed by Guatemala and Honduras.
The region must overcome several barriers to smart grid investment however, cautions a study, Central America & Caribbean Smart Grid: Market Forecast 2015 – 2025, just released by Northeast Group. Chief among these is a crime and violence problem as security challenges will likely put pressure on power infrastructure progress in the region.