Knee Deep in a COVID-19 Stricken Economy, Why Should the Caribbean Accelerate Investment in Sustainable Energy?
By: Dr Gary Jackson, Executive Director, CCREEE
During recent interviews on the newly launched Project Preparation Facility (PPF) – established by the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) – the host asked an interesting question: “what kind of uptake does the PPF expect in 2021 given the region’s current challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic?” It is an interesting question because it contains the justification for its own answer. The PPF anticipates high levels of interest in sustainable energy project development support precisely because of the external pressures the region faces.
The Caribbean’s economy has undoubtedly suffered due to COVID-19, with the pandemic exposing key vulnerabilities in our economic development strategies. Many Caribbean nations are mono-product economies, dependent on tourism and reliant on external sources for goods and commodities. This presents a significant challenge. Reduced flight frequency and restricted borders and lockdowns mean the COVID-19 pandemic has brought tourism and much else to a crawl and in some instances, to a halt. Consequently, funds have been reprioritised to meet health demands and provide economic support where it is most needed. With resulting limited cash flow, decreased impetus for the initial investments needed for sustainable energy development is expected.