Caribbean Development Bank wins top industry award for driving Geothermal Energy Development


‘Best Financing Programme’ — Joseph Williams (left), Caribbean Development Bank’s acting head for Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency, collected the award on behalf of the Caribbean Development Bank along with Christiaan Gischler (right), lead energy specialist and lead architect for Sustainable Energy Facility for the Eastern Caribbean programme at the Inter- American Development Bank. 


The Caribbean Development Bank’s Sustainable Energy Facility for the Eastern Caribbean (SEF) programme was awarded the ‘Best Financing Programme’ by the Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean (GEOLAC) at the GEOLAC Industry Awards held recently.


CDB’s acting head for Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency, Joseph Williams, collected the award on behalf of the CDB along with Christiaan Gischler, lead energy specialist and lead architect for SEF at the Inter-American Development Bank. 


SEF, which is developed in partnership with the IDB and executed by CDB, was specifically recognised for the financing which combines grant, contingently recoverable grant, and concessional loans resources through the IDB’s Global Environmental Facility, Clean Technology Fund, and the Green Climate Fund. SEF is also one of the programmes under the CDB GeoSmart initiative, which aims to reduce the financial, technical and institutional barriers to geothermal energy development in five Eastern Caribbean states — St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, St Lucia, and Dominica. It also helps governments build capacity and strengthen institutions so they can be better equipped to implement and manage geothermal energy initiatives.


CDB’s vice-president of Operations, Monica La Bennett, noted that the small size and relative isolation of many of the CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) means that energy costs are high but the barriers to exploring geothermal and other indigenous energy potential are also enormous.


“The high cost of energy impacts competitiveness in many BMCs and makes the economies especially vulnerable to oil price swings. For some time now, Caribbean governments have been supporting the use of our natural resources like geothermal to produce cleaner, lower-cost energy,” she stated in a press release.


“However, the availability of appropriate financing, particularly in the exploration and development stages when the costs can be relatively high, has been a major challenge. We have prioritised mobilising low-cost and concessionary financing to help kick-start geothermal expansion in our BMCs and so are especially pleased that our efforts in this area have been recognised.”


The 6th GEOLAC Industry Awards, co-hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank Group held in Santiago, Chile, is the largest annual gathering of the regional geothermal market. Comprising of over 200 stakeholders drawn from governments, utilities, developers and capital providers, GEOLAC 2019 showcased projects and funding programs and awarded entities that are significantly advancing geothermal development in Latin America and the Caribbean.