As Caribbean consumers face high energy prices due to a heavy reliance on costly and volatile fossil fuel imports and, with projected increased climate vulnerability, the World Bank partners with the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the Canada Clean Energy and Forests Climate Facility and the Climate Investment Fund, to explore geothermal viability in Saint Lucia.
The Renewable Energy Sector Development Project (RESDP) – launched today in Soufriere – applies concessional, multi-partner financing in support of St Lucia’s goal of 7 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, through geothermal exploration and the strengthening of the legal and regulatory framework for clean energy integration in St. Lucia.
Commenting on the new project, Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank’s Director for the Caribbean said, “The impact of high fuel expenditure on Caribbean economies cannot be understated. In 2020, St Lucia’s fuel imports accounted for 4.4% of GDP and we cannot overlook the utility of channeling these funds to other critical sectors, for example, into education and health. Exploring geothermal potential in St Lucia gives the country the ability to build its energy independence, increase resilience and reduce the environmental impact of GHG emissions.”
RESDP will facilitate the de-risking of exploration drilling which in turn enables private investment into subsequent stages of geothermal power development, toward climate change mitigation and improved energy security.
“The current global energy predicament should serve as a telling reminder to all stakeholders, including the government, to hasten the transition away from fossil fuels, towards renewable sources of energy for Saint Lucia. And so, we are here today to make some progress in that area, with the clear intention to move this project forward, to shape the country’s future economic prospects”, said Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Honorable Philip J. Pierre, during the project’s launch event.
Likewise, Corin Robertson, UK Director General for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean lauded the project’s potential while connecting the project to global initiatives. She said, “The UK is proud to support geothermal exploration in St Lucia and elsewhere in the Caribbean. This project has the potential for major reduction in energy costs and transformational potential for economic development in the medium to long term. It is fitting that in the last week of the UK’s COP Presidency, we are part of a launch that showcases the efforts Caribbean SIDS are taking to adapt to climate change and improve resilience.”
The strong renewable energy – including, solar and wind energy – and energy efficiency potential of Saint Lucia and the wider Caribbean presents significant prospects.
In response to Caribbean needs and global agreements, World Bank continues support of climate and energy initiatives, with its Caribbean programmes in these areas closely aligned to the Bank’s Climate Change Action Plan.
SOURCE: The World Bank. Headline photo: Audience at launch of Renewable Energy Sector Development Project.