CDKN-sponsored project in Anguilla generates great interest at the Barbados Power Summit
Written by Beth Barry, Anguilla Renewable Energy Office
Edited by Patricia Leon, CDKN
The Barbados Power Summit, on April 16-17, brought together regional utilities, government representatives, NGO’s and energy developers from the Caribbean to discuss challenges and opportunities for renewable energy integration.
Day one presentations began with the Director of Energy from Bermuda, Ms. Jeane Nikolai, who gave an overview of the electricity environment in Bermuda, highlighting several issues shared with Anguilla and other Overseas Territories (OT), such as the difficulty in accessing technical and funding support from multi-laterals working in the region due to OT status, small size and limited government capacity to support the development and implementation of sustainable energy policies.
Presentations also discussed different financing approaches for renewable energy projects, and all stressed the importance of a strong regulatory environment supportive of renewable energy integration. Each presenter underlined that government, legislative, utility and private sector alignment on RE integration is essential to attracting viable RE investments. In this context, CDKN – sponsored project in Anguilla offers important lessons learned. CDKN has hired world class international expertise, to advise the government of Anguilla on how to improve Anguilla’s legal and regulatory framework to enable integration of renewable energy.
A presentation by the Chief Operating Officer of BLPC, Mr. Stephen Worme, was of particular interest. Mr. Worme made it clear that net metering is not an option for the small, closed grids of the Caribbean and that net billing, based on avoided cost of generation, is the only viable approach for Caribbean communities and the utilities that serve them. He stressed the idea that within a small scale net-metering regime those consumers not selling distributed generation to the grid would effectively be subsidizing those that were. The bulk of Mr. Worme’s presentation laid out the approach BLPC has taken in setting up their Standard Offer Contract for the purchase of distributed generation in Barbados. He was able to show that payment at avoided cost for solar PV generation at peak daylight hours with distributed generators purchasing retail electricity at off-peak hours, and at off-peak rates, creates a win-win savings for both the distributed generator and the utility.
On the second day of the Summit, Beth Barry, who leads the Anguilla Energy Office and is CDKN’s local civil society partner, was asked to join a panel to discuss energy policy and energy environment in island nations. The discussion highlighted the need to develop productive conversations among key energy stakeholders, namely government, utilities and the private sector. Again, the CDKN project in Anguilla provides a case study for generating dialogue among government, the electricity utility, the private sector and civil society in order to discuss the necessary changes to Anguilla’s regulatory framework to allow for alternative energy generation and grid tie.
Beth Barry contributed to the discussion by presenting about Anguilla’s path towards renewable energy transition thus far, and the current status of the renewable energy integration project with CDKN. The importance of strengthening civil society groups that are able to spearhead efforts for renewable energy integration was recognized by many participants. Likewise, the audience was interested the current CDKN project in Anguilla, as it clearly addresses the repeatedly highlighted need for a strong regulatory framework to support RE integration. The organizers granted additional time for the Q&A session due to the high level of interest. Beth was also invited to present progress regarding the project at an upcoming event to bring decision makers from the Caribbean together to discuss solutions for renewable energy integration.