UK’s DFID strengthens Sustainable Energy for Eastern Caribbean Programme

The Government of the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) through the Department for International Development (DFID), signaled its further support for the promotion of sustainable energy in the region by agreeing to contribute £2.5 million to the Sustainable Energy for the Eastern Caribbean (SEEC) Programme executed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

CDB’s Vice-President (Operations), Mrs. Patricia McKenzie; and Ms. Colleen Wainwright Head of Office of DFID yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalize the support.  The Programme provides innovative financing designed to advance sustainable energy solutions in the Eastern Caribbean countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The development of sustainable energy options, which include renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE), can help countries improve energy security, reduce electricity costs; save on foreign exchange; and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.  Promotion of sustainable energy is being emphasized by the Bank as part of its strategic thrust to improve of energy security among its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs).

SEEC is designed to address both institutional and capacity deficits in the public sector and provide project support, through technical assistance, as well as some priority public sector investment needs in RE and EE.  SEEC support for investment will include: energy efficiency upgrades for public buildings; solar PV installation in public buildings; and energy efficient street lighting.

Each beneficiary country will receive an allocation of grant resources dedicated to investments for blending with CDB loan resources. Pilot lines of credit to select financial intermediaries for on-lending to small and medium enterprises for EE and RE; and a pilot guarantee scheme are also product offerings of the SEEC.

SEEC offers funding of an estimated US$24 million and is a multi-partner loan and grant programme, which is co-financed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB); European Union-Caribbean Investment Facility (EU-CIF) and the United Kingdom- Department for International Development (DFID).

Mrs. McKenzie said SEEC, which has been developed as a four-year multi-donor trust facility, is one of the smart facilities and programmes of CDB’s energy strategy aimed at supporting sustainable energy development in the BMCs.  She also noted that: “the investment component of the Programme will priorities EE and RE interventions in government buildings, which will allow governments to lead by example as they seek to get the citizenry and the private sector to adopt more sustainable energy.”

Ms. Wainwright, who is also the UK’s CDB Director said this partnership is a clear demonstration of the UK’s commitment to help countries to improve their energy security. “We believe that this programme is going to have a catalytic role in reducing the barriers to greater uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency and it will provide financial support to make the technology affordable and provide technical support to ensure the right policy environment is created,” Ms. Wainwright said.