Six Caribbean countries to receive US energy, climate-aid grants

Six Caribbean countries are to benefit from technical assistance grants from the USA under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), but Guyana is not among them.

Hillary Clinton

The countries to benefit from these grants:  Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica and St Vincent and the Grenadines. This announcement was made by US Secretary of State , during a recent trip to Jamaica for a meeting with Caricom foreign ministers. Guyana was represented by Public Service Minister Jennifer Westford who was deputizing for Minister Carolyn Rodrigues who was on leave.

The announcement, according to a release from Washington, follows the October, 2010 meeting of the ECPA Caribbean Sustainable Energy Dialogue in The Bahamas, where the Organization of American States invited all Caribbean governments to submit proposals.  According to the release, the OAS received more than 20 proposals and selected the top six based on technical merit. It is unclear whether Guyana submitted a proposal though this would have been well within the ambit of the country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy.

The grant awarded to Antigua & Barbuda will be used for eco-friendly generation in the National Parks to encourage the use of solar energy technologies, while Dominica will utilize the funds for a Solar Water Heating Awareness Initiative to encourage the use of water heaters in the residential and commercial sectors, including tourism. The grant to the Dominican Republic will be used to install a demonstration PV solar system in parallel with the utility grid to supply a portion of the nation’s electricity demand.  Grenada will use the  money for the development of a Geothermal Resource Development Bill, which will provide legal assistance in drafting a Geothermal Resource Bill to advance preliminary assessments for constructing a small scale geothermal plant. Jamaica, meanwhile, will be working towards a Wind Powered Irrigation Feasibility Assessment to evaluate the technical and financial feasibility of implementing wind power at a pumping station in the St. Elizabeth Parish. St. Vincent and the Grenadines had proposed a Photovoltaic Project for the Administrative Building to fund a feasibility study of net-metering to promote the use of renewable energy.

Meanwhile, during her recent trip Clinton invited all Caribbean countries to join a new ECPA initiative to build permanent, regional capacity in the area of climate change adaptation.

This initiative, the release said, will focus on acquiring and modeling Caribbean-specific data for use in planning and policy decisions.  Through a grant to Higher Education for Development, the ECPA Caribbean Adaptation Initiative will partner one or more US higher education institutions with the University of the West Indies (UWI) to enhance research, expand higher education programmes, and promote outreach to policy-makers.

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