Arlington, VA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 14, 2013 – The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has been awarded two contracts in the past month to establish two new regional utilities in Haiti.
Under a $24 million contract from USAID, NRECA International Ltd. will undertake a three-year electricity distribution pilot project to consolidate an electric distribution system in Caracol with a power generation system to create a regional utility serving the greater Caracol area, including Limonade, Terrier Rouge and Trou de Nord. Once operational, the utility will serve at least 5,000 members in this rural community about 20 miles east of Cap Haitien, on Haiti’s north coast.
The project will hire and train 80 local residents with the goal of creating a self-sustaining utility. The utility will be powered using diesel and heavy fuel oil supplemented in the future by a 2 MW solar facility and will be the only utility in Haiti providing power 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Partners on the project are ESD-Haiti, Cadmus and the World Council of Credit Unions which will be exploring the possibility of utilizing mobile money technology for conducting financial transactions.
The second is a $1.8 million contract to establish a new coop, named the Haiti Rural Electric Cooperative, to serve 15,000 residents on Haiti’s southern coast. Funding is being channeled through UNEP’s Haiti Sustainable Energy Program, which gets financial support from the Norwegian government, and other contributors include USAID and the NRECA International Foundation.
The new coop will aim to provide power on a regular schedule in the communes of Roche-à-Bateau, Coteaux and Port-à-Piment. Currently minigrids powered by diesel generators operate in the principal towns in each commune, but electric service is irregular. The project will also include the development by NRECA International and the Solar Electric Light Fund of a photovoltaic solar array in the service areas.
With this contract, “Haiti has become quite the hub of activity for our team this year,” Dan Waddle, senior vice president for NRECA International Ltd told the organization’s publication ECT.coop. On the Caracol project he added: “(This) give us an opportunity to create a new, sustainable model for electricity distribution in Haiti.”
As part of the contract NRECA International will also advise the Haitian government on legal and regulatory frameworks for setting up electric coops.