Renewables, Green Hydrogen, EVs are Most Cost-Effective Energy Strategy for Caribbean Island

The recommended mix would reduce Antigua and Barbuda’s levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from around 15 cents per kilowatt hour today, to 9 cents per kilowatt hour, significantly benefiting citizens and businesses in the country while meeting climate and development goals.

March 10, 2021. By Manu Tayal

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Caribbean nation’s two major islands i.e. Antigua and Barbuda can significantly reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels while driving down electricity costs for citizens, by meeting its energy needs exclusively through indigenous renewable energy resources, green hydrogen and full electric vehicle (EV) adoption, said an intergovernmental agency the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in its new report.

The new report ‘Antigua and Barbuda: Renewable Energy Roadmap’ suggested the country’s least cost option for zero-carbon energy system would include 90 per cent renewable power generation from solar and wind.

Additionally, the country can achieve 100 per cent renewables by integrating flexibility measures including green hydrogen and a fully electrified transport system, it added.

The recommended mix would reduce Antigua and Barbuda’s levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from around 15 cents per kilowatt hour today, to 9 cents per kilowatt hour, significantly benefiting citizens and businesses in the country while meeting climate and development goals.

Commenting on the need for energy transition, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Molwyn M. Joseph explained, “rising energy costs have impacted communities, households and businesses. The nation’s vulnerability and exposure to risk necessitates the transformation of its energy system to better adapt to the impacts of climate change.”

“The Government has made a written commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050,” continued Minister Joseph, “with the aim to not only contribute to emission reductions but more importantly to develop a robust national energy system that is based on the utilisation of abundant natural energy resources such as solar and wind.”

Both Antigua and Barbuda currently sources close to 97 per cent of its energy needs through fossil fuel imports, however the government has proposed an ambitious renewable energy goal to increase the share of renewables to 100 per cent by 2030 for the revision process of the Nationally Determined Contributions. Under the current trajectory, renewables in the power sector would grow from just over 3 per cent now to around 9 per cent in the coming years, far below national targets.

Speaking on the benefits of renewable for the Caribbean islands, Francesco La Camera, Director General of IRENA, said “as with many of the world’s small islands, Antigua and Barbuda can achieve significant socioeconomic gains through a renewable energy-led energy transition.”

“Greater energy security, reduced costs and the creation of local jobs are just some of the ways in which renewables will deliver a more stable and sustainable future. Using the findings of this analysis as a starting point, will work closely with the government of Antigua and Barbuda to help the country realise its full energy potential,” La Camera added.

IRENA’s recommendations would involve liberating state funds for investment in domestic renewable energy development. Under the roadmap up to USD 440 million of investment is needed by 2030, to build an energy mix dominated by wind (accounting for 47 per cent of generation), solar (accounting for 40 per cent of generation) and hydrogen fuel cells making up 13 per cent.

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