Today, President Obama met with Caribbean leaders in a U.S.-CARICOM Summit in Kingston, Jamaica. President Obama reaffirmed the importance of our relationship with the region, and the United States’ commitment to partner with Caribbean countries to advance economic development, security, and good governance. Leaders discussed a broad range of issues, from our important trade and investment linkages to security cooperation.
The leaders’ discussion focused on the importance of improving energy security, reducing energy costs, and fighting climate change. This follows robust engagement on these issues over the last year, including the White House Caribbean Energy Security Summit hosted by the Vice President in January 2015 and the launch of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI) coordinated by the Department of State. The United States is deepening this collaboration through the following initiatives:
Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central American (CEFF-CCA): The United States will launch a $20 million facility to encourage investment in clean energy projects. The facility will provide early-stage funding to catalyze greater private and public sector investment in clean energy projects. It will draw on the expertise of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) in coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State.
Energy Security Task Force: The United States will partner with Caribbean and Central American countries in a task force to evaluate progress in our cooperation and identify concrete steps to advance energy sector reform, regional integration, and clean energy development.
Clean Energy Finance: In January, OPIC formed a dedicated financing and insurance team to advance development of the Caribbean renewable energy sector. OPIC is in advanced talks to finance a 20 MW solar farm in Jamaica, and has already committed financing to Jamaica’s largest private-sector wind farm, a 36 MW facility in Malvern, St. Elizabeth Parish. OPIC is actively looking for opportunities to support solar and wind energy projects in Jamaica and throughout the broader Caribbean region.
Clean Energy Technology Collaboration: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Jamaica’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining signed a statement of intent today to advance our shared interest in sustainable energy. Areas for potential cooperation include energy conservation and efficiency, energy infrastructure, micro grids and energy storage, fuel diversification, and energy policy.
Clean Energy Economy Transition: The Department of Energy assembled U.S. and Caribbean stakeholder working groups to look at opportunities ranging from clean energy, efficiency, diversifying electricity generation, clean transportation and energy education, at the Caribbean Clean Energy Technology Symposium, held in St. Thomas in March. The working groups will report on progress at the 2016 Symposium to be hosted by Jamaica. Also, the Department of Energy will launch a new Energy Scenario Planning Tool¸building on its Energy Transitions: Island Playbook, to help island communities plan clean energy projects that are most likely to attract investment, capitalize on local resources, and meet energy needs.
Greening Tourism: The tourism industry is the largest energy user in the Caribbean. The Department of Energy, with its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and OPIC are undertaking the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency and Renewables (CHEER) initiative, which supports projects to improve energy and water efficiency as well as the exchange of best practices in the hotel and tourism industry. USAID is launching a complementary project focused on the Eastern Caribbean that will develop new financing tools for energy efficiency and renewables.
Jamaica Clean Energy Program: USAID is working with the Government of Jamaica and the private sector on a new integrated Clean Energy Program to establish the pre-conditions for clean energy development, optimize renewable energy integration, and accelerate private-sector clean energy investment.