Barbados and other borrowing member countries of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) could soon have greater access to funds from that financial institution to ramp up their renewable energy transition.
President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Dr Gene Leon made the announcement on Wednesday as he issued a call for regional governments to take urgent steps to quickly phase out the use of fossil fuel.
He argued that the region’s high dependence on imported fossil fuel and the associated high cost of electricity has been “stifling” the pace of growth and development in the region including poverty reduction efforts and remains a continued threat to the attainment of the sustainable development goals.
“There is a dire and urgent need to accelerate the transition to increase renewable energy generation, utilising our abundant solar, wind, hydro and geothermal resources. While doing so we need to ensure that the transition is managed to minimise the potential negative effects of disruption and to ensure that it is just, it is not a zero–one – fossil fuels today and 100 per cent renewables tomorrow. The cost of disruption cannot be ignored and therefore the pace at which we make that transition has to be an essential element of that development agenda that we are talking about,” he said.
He said based on initial estimates by the CDB, the scale of sustainable development envisaged for the region would require investment of “upwards of US$100 billion” over the next decade, with sustainable energy projects alone accounting for about US$40 billion.
Leon was addressing the opening ceremony of the CDB’s 52nd annual meeting on Wednesday, which is being held in the Turks and Caicos Islands under the theme Measure Better to Target Better: Adaptation and Resilience.