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Part Two: Mapping CARICOM’s Path Towards a Sustainable Energy Future with Support From TAPSEC

In case you missed it, see Part One here.

As remote as policies and regulations can feel from our daily lives, they influence every aspect: the houses we live in, the offices we work in, the cars we drive and the costs of it all. As we transition toward a future in which all Caribbean citizens have access to sustainable, reliable and resilient energy supplies, our region needs solid frameworks to guide us there.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union (EU), the Technical Assistance Programme for Sustainable Energy in the Caribbean (TAPSEC) provided financial and technical assistance to regional institutions working to create these frameworks, such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) and the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM). Their expansive efforts took the form of projects designed to guide our region on its journey toward regional energy sustainability.

Scaling Up Regional Energy Efficiency

Your energy use—at home, at work and on the go—is guided by your country’s National Energy Policy (NEP). This document outlines the ways your national energy sector will keep your nation’s supply secure, stable, and efficient. Those guidelines relate directly to how you use energy and which types of energy you get to use. 

15 NEES reports were created, tailored to the specific needs of each CARICOM Member State.

As the Caribbean pivots toward energy sustainability, NEP updates are taking place across the region. With TAPSEC’s support, the Regional Energy Efficiency Strategy and Action Plan (REES and REEAP) and National-level Energy Efficiency Strategies (NEES) were developed to guide these updates by providing strategic approaches to scaling up CARICOM energy efficiency. 

The REES and REEAP provide regional organisations with a detailed map of the path to energy efficiency, showing them the strategies, actions and steps needed to develop and deploy energy-efficient policies, measures, technologies and systems. At the national level, 15 NEES reports were created, each tailored to the specific circumstances of a different CARICOM Member State and containing multiple scenarios showing how much energy they can save through 2035.

Using insights in these reports, our nations can update their NEPs, develop new national action plans and strategies and create effective energy efficiency programmes and initiatives that will open up new energy-efficient options for us all.

Providing Technical Support for the Sustainable Energy Transition

It can take years to develop the energy policies and regulations that govern our lives. Technical experts work diligently to assess our nation’s needs and model multiple scenarios before they prepare the analyses and documents upon which our government will base its policies. It’s a time-consuming, labour-intensive and expensive task and, sometimes, by the time the policies are complete and rolled out, it’s time to review and update them. This process can be rough on nations trying to balance budgets while staying up-to-date, which is why some policies can languish without updates for years, causing the nations to fall behind in their sustainable energy goals. 

In recognition of this struggle, the CARICOM Secretariat partnered with TAPSEC to create the CARICOM Energy Policy and Regulations Help Desk. This first-of-its-kind facility was created through the Secretariat’s Energy Programme. Designed to support Member States working to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy, it provides them with technical assistance to create and maintain sustainable energy policies and regulations. Since 2020, the facility has called on an existing pool of technical consultants to help applicants develop, modernise or implement energy policies, legislation, regulations, programmes and initiatives. During that time, projects in Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Guyana and Suriname have been completed with assistance from the Help Desk. 

This support has freed these nations from the financial and technical constraints that would have prevented them from creating the policies and regulations necessary for progress. The Help Desk will be integrated into the CARICOM Energy programme, ensuring its availability for nations that need it well into the future.

The energy policies and regulations that guide our lives are getting stronger thanks to a variety of projects carried out across the region by institutions working hard to push the regional sustainable energy transition forward. With support from TAPSEC, institutions such as the CARICOM Secretariat, the CCREEE, the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) are well-poised to continue mapping our region’s path toward a sustainable energy future.