Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, December
10, 2013 – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping reduce
energy costs in the Caribbean by supporting regulatory reforms that promote
clean energy and by helping local banks provide the finance needed to develop
sustainable energy sources. This program is supported by the Department
of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada.
As part of the program, IFC is co-hosting Caribbean
Tourism: The Energy Forum,the
first regional event to focus on lowering the electricity bill for the
Caribbean’s hospitality sector. The forum, held in Punta Cana, Dominican
Republic from Dec. 10-11, convenes global experts to share expertise in
energy efficiency and renewable energy for the Caribbean’s tourism industry.
More than 97 percent of electricity in the Caribbean is generated from
fossil fuels. With rates averaging US$0.30 per kWh, electricity bills can
soar two to three times higher than in other parts of Latin America. Reducing
the reliance on fossil fuels and supporting cleaner, more efficient energy
production is critical to helping island economies grow sustainably. There
is potential for renewable energy, but many Caribbean countries lack the
regulatory frameworks and know-how to support it. In addition, businesses
face formidable hurdles in accessing credit to invest in clean energy.
IFC is helping energy service companies and equipment vendors understand
how to structure projects for financing. IFC is also building the capacity
of local financial institutions to identify sustainable energy projects
and meet their financing needs. In the Dominican Republic, for example,
Banco BHD has an active line of credit with IFC to finance sustainable
energy projects and also received advisory services.
“Banco BHD has identified sustainable energy finance as a strategic business
opportunity,” said Steven Puig, General Manager of Banco BHD in Santo
Domingo. “We have been very pleased that IFC’s know-how and long term
funding have facilitated our leadership in bringing cost-efficient and
cleaner energy solutions to the Dominican Republic.”
Several Caribbean countries are taking steps toward a more sustainable
energy matrix. Barbados is promoting solar energy while Jamaica has implemented
energy audits for better efficiency in the hotel industry. Grenada, St.
Lucia, and St. Kitts & Nevis are working on regulatory reforms to shield
themselves from volatile oil markets.
“High energy rates have long been the Caribbean’s Achilles heel; many
countries allocate a significant part of their budget to importing energy.
At the same time, they are vulnerable to the environmental impacts associated
with fossil-fuel consumption, such as air pollution, rising sea levels,
and coral bleaching,” said Jun Zhang, IFC Senior Manager for the Caribbean.
“Transforming energy use is critical to their economic future and environmental
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private
enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise,
and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.
In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion,
leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the
world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit