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View of a shanty town in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo: Blockchain Land)

World Bank grant to finance Haiti’s renewable energy project

View of a shanty town in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo: Blockchain Land)

The World Bank Group last week announced that its board of executive directors approved the disbursement of a US$6.9-million grant to finance ‘Haiti: Renewable Energy for All Project’.

The World Bank last week announced the approval of a US$6.9-million grant to finance ‘Haiti: Renewable Energy for All Project’. (File photo)

With the financing, the Haitian authorities will increase their investments in renewable energy so as to improve access to electricity for health infrastructure, households, businesses, and community services.

According to Anabela Abreu, World Bank country director for Haiti, “Access to reliable energy is essential to reinforce the ability of Haiti’s health care centres to power essential equipment needed to manage the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other priority health services. This timely intervention complements our existing support to the health sector while strengthening the country’s resilience to future shocks.” 

Anabela Abreu, World Bank country director for Haiti (File photo)

“Clean and locally-available energy access will also foster inclusive growth in Haiti, facilitating new investments and innovations, which are fundamental for economic recovery from the pandemic,” the director added.

Making health care a priority

As part of the project, the Government of Haiti will expand the delivery of clean and reliable electricity for at least four priority health care facilities involved in the response to the pandemic. Included in this process will be the installation of solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage for health infrastructure and water facilities.

Another objective of the project is the rehabilitation of the Drouet mini-hydroelectric plant in Artibonite Department, which will become a source of clean and reliable electricity generation to neighbouring communities and the regional grid.

“Access to reliable energy is essential to reinforce the ability of Haiti’s health care centres to power essential equipment…”

— Anabela Abreu, country director for Haiti, World Bank

Ultimately, the project will address the constraining impact that the lack of consistent electricity generation has on Haiti’s economic development as well as its response to emergencies and recovery from shocks, the World Bank noted.

In fact, a majority of hospitals in the French-speaking republic depend heavily on backup generators because electricity from the grid is only available for a few hours daily. As a result, the lack of power limits the efficiency of COVID-19 testing at laboratories; the distribution and storage of medicines, especially vaccines; and even prohibit the use of life-saving equipment, such as oxygen concentrators.

Hospitals in Haiti depend heavily on backup generators due to limited supply of electricity from the grid for only a few hours daily. Mirebalais University Hospital, about two hours north of Port-au-Prince, is the primary health care provider for 185,000 people in Mirebalais and two adjoining communities. (Photo: BWH Global Health Hub)

A new round of financing

The World Bank grant represents a new round of financing for Haiti: Renewable Energy for All Project, which began in 2018 with a US$19.62-million grant from Strategic Climate Fund.

“US$4 million of the additional financing is a grant from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, and US$2.9 million is [a grant] from the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program Trust Fund,” the bank disclosed.