USAID awards US$4m towards Jamaica renewable energy alliance

USAID awards US$4m towards Jamaica renewable energy alliance

Friday, January 15, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Wednesday launched a three-year US$4 million Jamaica energy resilience alliance, which involves several local entities.

The alliance — led by Cadmus Group LLC — is expected to invest up to US$50 million to boost Jamaica's renewable energy landscape, with direct economic and environmental impacts in the energy sector to the benefit of Jamaica's tourism sectors, and other essential industries.

Emphasising the critical need for public-private sector co-operation in the development of Jamaica's energy sector, USAID Acting Deputy Administrator, John Barsa, characterised the new initiative as “critical to Jamaica's future and part of our efforts to increase the diversity of Jamaica's energy, to strengthen the resilience of energy systems and infrastructure and to decrease vulnerability to natural disasters”.

Speaking at the Alliance launch event at LASCO Distributors Limited headquarters in St Catherine, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Daryl Vaz reiterated the importance of Jamaica's transition to a resilient renewable energy hub and the Alliance program's role.

“This new partnership will assist in the creation of a resilient and robust energy sector as we enter the decade of growth and development towards the year 2030,” Vaz said.

According to USAID, alliance activities aim to reduce key barriers to renewable energy and battery storage adoption and enhance business continuity amongst Jamaican companies. It said Jamaican businesses that choose to engage with the alliance program, will receive in-depth and tailored case assessment to understand the technical feasibility of installing solar at their sites. These entities will also access information to demystify installation decisions and processes, and opportunities for financing from alliance partners, the agency added.

The USAID also noted that the alliance initiative also offers hands-on training for those interested in becoming certified solar installers, which is anticipated to strengthen the sector through workforce development with the engagement of underrepresented populations, including women. Scholarships for this training will be available.

The Jamaican Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA); LASCO Distributors Limited; The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus; Jamaican renewable energy developer, Wigton Wind Farms Limited, international solar energy investor WRB Energy and Cadmus participated in the discussion. Other alliance members include the Rocky Mountain Institute, Xergy Energy, and Green Solutions International.

Vice President of International Programs at Cadmus, summarised the partners' collective contributions, noting that “Our alliance intends to accelerate the market for distributed, solar and storage projects in Jamaica, reducing reliance on centralised energy sources which are especially vulnerable to natural or human-made shocks, while simultaneously accelerating the transition to clean and sustainable energy sources.”

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