March 13, 2015
CARILEC and IDB sign grant financing agreement

The Caribbean Electric Utilities Services Corporation (CARILEC) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have signed a grant financing agreement to provide financing to support CARILEC’s Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Energy Programme.

CARILEC is an association {{more}}of electric utilities, suppliers, manufacturers and other stakeholders operating in the electricity industry in the Caribbean. St Vincent Electricity Services Limited (VINLEC) is a member of this umbrella body.

Under this agreement, CARILEC will develop and implement climate change adaptation strategies for its electric utility companies. The project also supports the development and implementation of strategies for optimizing generation, transmission and distribution with increased renewable energy penetration.

The agreement was signed by chief executive officer of VINLEC and chair of the board of directors of CARILEC Thornley Myers and Joel Branski, country representative of the IDB, on March 3 in Barbados.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Myers stated that the Caribbean is a disaster prone region and that the frequency and intensity of natural disasters in the Caribbean have increased in recent years. He said that this can be attributed in part to climate change. He stated that these disasters have impacted the electricity utilities in the region and threaten the sustainability of energy production.

Myers disclosed that a substantial amount of the project funds will be dedicated to an assessment of the impact of climate change on five regional utilities to determine the vulnerability of this sector to climate change. He said the information will be used to develop strategies and action plans for adaptation to increase the sector’s resilience to climate change. Myers indicated that the region’s electricity supply and distribution infrastructure are under threat due to climate change and that one only needs to look at what transpired with respect to VINLEC’s hydroelectric facilities in December 2013.

Several other project activities have been listed, including the development of a programme that will provide direction regarding areas in which the utility can improve technical and environmental performance and demand and supply side energy management.

Meanwhile, the IDB’s representative noted that this was not the first grant financing agreement between CARILEC and the IDB, as the organization had previously provided funds for an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Project. He indicated that his organization sees CARILEC as an important entity in the regional energy landscape and in this regard is honoured to partner with the organization to address issues of energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change adaptation in the energy sector.

The grant is in the amount of US$476,625. The project will be coordinated by Vincentian energy consulting engineer Leonard Deane.