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Wigton Windfarm in Manchester, Jamaica, is one the country's premier renewable energy investment. (File photo)

USAID grants US$4 million to J’can renewable energy promgramme

Wigton Windfarm in Manchester, Jamaica, is one the country's premier renewable energy investment. (File photo)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided US$4 million in seed funding towards the Cadmus Group LLC-led Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance.

The programme, which aims to transform Jamaica’s renewable energy landscape over the next three years, was launched last month at LASCO Distributors Limited’s headquarters in St Catherine.

The official logo for the United Staes Agency for International Development
(Photo: US Embassy in Bridgetown)

According to the US Embassy in Jamaica, already the programme has received US$50 million in pledges from several prominent private sector organisations in that country.

It is for this reason that USAID Acting Deputy Administrator John Barsa underscored the importance of public-private sector cooperation in the development of Jamaica’s energy sector, securing the country’s energy future by increasing “the diversity of Jamaica’s energy [mix]”.

USAID Acting Deputy Administrator John Barsa (Photo: USAID)

He added that a public-private partnership in this regard also serves to ” strengthen the reslience of energy systems and infrastructure” while limiting their vulnerability to natural disasters.

In the same vein, Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz noted the critical role the alliance will play as the island embarks on a decade-long transition to reslient renewable energy.

“Our alliance intends to accelerate the market for distributed, solar and storage projects in Jamaica, reducing reliance on centralised energy sources which are especially vulnerable to natural or human-made shocks…”

— Christina Becker-Birck, vice-president of International Programs, Cadmus Group LLC

“This new partnership will assist in the creation of a resilient and robust energy sector as we enter the decade of growth and development towards the year 2030,” he said at the launch.

Boosting renewable energy education

As part of its mandate, Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance aims to reduce key barriers to renewable energy and battery storage adoption while improving business continuity amongst Jamaican companies.

Daryl Vaz, Jamaica’s minister of science, energy and technology, said the country is transitioning to the use of resilient renewable energy. (File photo)

To this end, Jamaican enterprises that engage with the programme will benefit from in-depth and tailored case assessment to better understand the technical feasibility of installing solar on their premises. In addition, these businesses will also access information to simplify installation decisions and processes, and opportunities for financing from alliance partners.

Moreover, the programme will offer practical training to people who have an interest in becoming certified solar installers with opportunities for acholarships.

Members of the Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance include The Jamaican Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA); LASCO Distributors Limited; The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus; Jamaican renewable energy developer, Wigton Wind Farms Limited, international solar energy investor WRB Energy and Cadmus. The other members are the Rocky Mountain Institute, Xergy Energy, and Green Solutions International.

In her remarks at the launch, Christina Becker-Birck, vice-president of International Programs at Cadmus, highlighted the partners’ collective contributions to the programme.

“Our alliance intends to accelerate the market for distributed, solar and storage projects in Jamaica, reducing reliance on centralised energy sources which are especially vulnerable to natural or human-made shocks, while simultaneously accelerating the transition to clean and sustainable energy sources,” Becker-Birck said.