Biden to host Caribbean energy summit 

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden is preparing to host a Caribbean energy security summit in Washington, D.C., later this month, the White House announced yesterday.

Biden will welcome Caribbean heads of government, members of the private sector and other officials Jan. 26 at the event, aimed at promoting “a cleaner and more sustainable energy future in the Caribbean through improved energy governance, greater access to finance, and donor coordination,” according to the White House.

The event will be hosted by the White House and the State Department in partnership with the Atlantic Council and the Council of the Americas. It is a “key component of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative” Biden announced last year, the White House said.

Representatives from countries including the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada are expected to attend the summit, according to Biden’s office.

Last June, the vice president announced the initiative to support Caribbean nations struggling with high costs of imported fuel and electricity (Greenwire, June 20, 2014).

That initiative laid out several methods for transforming the Caribbean’s electricity sector, including increasing access to financing for energy projects, using pilot projects as models for other nations, and improving the coordination of donors funding technical and policy assistance programs.

“Energy security is a major challenge for the Caribbean,” and the high cost of energy “diverts resources away from economic development, reduces competitiveness and renders the energy sectors of Caribbean nations vulnerable to supply shocks,” the White House said last year when the initiative was launched.

“However, the region has access to an abundance of renewable and other energy resources,” it added. “A concerted effort to provide assistance to Caribbean islands on difficult policy and regulatory reforms can attract the private finance required to implement new energy technologies and approaches.”