The first three renewable energy projects under the $50 million United Arab Emirates-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (UAE-CREF) have broken ground in the Bahamas, Barbados and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) said the projects are fully financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and represent the largest renewable energy initiative of its kind in the Caribbean.
Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, said: “These renewable energy projects underway in the Bahamas, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines further make the business case for sustainable development and UAE-Caribbean cooperation.
"They will create jobs and reduce energy costs to stimulate the local economy, while also incorporating concrete measures to address the reality of climate and hurricane risk.”
The three projects, designed by Masdar with the respective national governments, are set to come online by the first quarter of 2019.
In the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the projects are also being built to elevate storm standards and are located in less exposed areas, a statement said.
Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of ADFD, said the projects in the Bahamas, Barbados and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines will have a significant positive knock-on effect on the adoption of renewable energy elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin American region.
In the Bahamas, a 900-kilowatt solar PV plant at the national stadium will also serve as a carport with electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
In Barbados, the project has two elements - a 350-kilowatt solar PV carport also with EV charging stations, and a 500-kilowatt ground-mounted PV plant. Both projects are being built in partnership with the Barbados Water Authority.
In Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, the project sets a strong precedent for using renewable energy to drive down energy costs on its outer islands. Under construction on Union Island, the 600-kilowatt solar PV plant is connected to a 500-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and is expected to supply all of the island’s daytime power needs.
The combined output of the solar power plants will be 2.35 megawatts (MW) and represents an annual diesel fuel saving of at least $1.1 million.
The UAE-CREF aims to deploy renewable energy projects in 16 Caribbean countries over the next three years to help reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports, stimulate economic activity and enhance climate change resilience.
Two projects in the first cycle of the fund – in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica – are currently being reconfigured in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane season.
The second cycle of the Fund – involving renewable energy projects in Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia – was announced at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the IRENA Assembly in January.For all the latest energy and oil news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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