December 18, 2023 — The Geothermal Energy Decision Makers Workshop held in Colombia from November 30 to December 1, 2023, marked a pivotal moment in advancing geothermal projects within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The workshop, organised as part of the GEOBUILD Programme, focused on enhancing the technical capacity of governments and key stakeholders, setting the stage for accelerated geothermal energy action.
The workshop gave decision-makers a robust agenda covering geothermal basics, challenges, case studies, and collaborative activities. Facilitators, including Alastair Brookes from the Government of New Zealand, and Lance Peters from the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, offered diverse expertise in geothermal development. Chaired by Ernie Stapleton, the OECS GEOBUILD Project Manager, the workshop aimed to equip senior-level officials with the necessary knowledge and tools for effective decision-making.
The objectives, ranging from highlighting decision-making issues to examining key consultancies under GEOBUILD, were met with notable achievements. Decision-making tools were developed, and participants gained insights into government roles, financial partnerships, and project structures. Collaborative group work fostered a better understanding of OECS Member States' needs and the role of key consultancies.
This workshop sets the stage for implementing decision-making tools in geothermal projects, continued collaboration among OECS Member States, and the application of lessons learned in future initiatives. The emphasis on a comprehensive capacity-building plan and collaboration with regional institutions emerged as critical steps for successful geothermal development.
Several key lessons learned from geothermal energy exploration initiatives in Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines underscored the importance of regular policy reviews, early capacity building, anticipating infrastructure needs, efficient land acquisition, and robust environmental protection laws. The need for transparency, holistic development approaches, and engagement with regional institutions was emphasised.
The Geothermal Energy Decision Makers Workshop represents a significant milestone in advancing sustainable and renewable energy solutions in the OECS. Decision-makers are now armed with the knowledge and tools to steer geothermal projects towards successful implementation. As the OECS continues its journey towards a greener energy future, collaboration, transparency, and strategic decision-making will remain key drivers.
The Geothermal Energy: Capacity Building for Utilization, Investment and Local Development (GEOBUILD) Programme is dedicated to enhancing technical capacity and fostering collaboration for geothermal energy development in the OECS Member States. Funding resources comes from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and European Union- Caribbean Investment Facility (EU-CIF). The total cost of the project is US$3.1 million for a period of three years ending in 2025.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB):
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is a development institution or bank that assist the Caribbean countries, called Member Countries (MCs), finance social and economic programs and projects in these member countries. CDB was established by an Agreement signed on October 18, 1969, in Kingston, Jamaica, and entered into force on January 26, 1970. The permanent headquarters of the bank is located at Wildey, St. Michael, Barbados. On September 21, 2018, the Bank officially opened its Country Office in Haiti, the first outside its Headquarters in Barbados. The Barbados headquarters serves all the regional borrowing member countries with staff recruited from its member countries.
CDB's membership of twenty eight (28) countries consists of nineteen (19) regional borrowing members, four regional, non-borrowing members (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela) and five non-regional, non-borrowing members (Canada, China, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom).
The CDB received funding for the GEOBUILD project through the European Union - Caribbean Investment Facility (EU-CIF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The European Union - Caribbean Investment Facility (EU-CIF)
Established in 2012, the Caribbean Investment Facility (CIF) is one of the European Union’s regional blending facilities, aimed at contributing to economic development and growth, regional integration, poverty reduction and environmental protection through the mobilisation of resources for strategic economic infrastructure projects and for support to the private sector.
CIF acts as a catalyst to mobilize funding for development projects by combining EU grants with financial resources from European and regional financial institutions, governments, and the private sector.
Currently, CIF is financing projects in key sectors that are essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as renewable energy, water and wastewater systems, sustainable transport, environment, information and communication technology, health, education and other social services, and support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
CIF has three main interconnected and mutually reinforcing strategic objectives:
- Improving social access and quality of infrastructure in the Caribbean countries.
- Increasing environmental protection, supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation and prevention and mitigation of natural disasters.
- Promoting equitable and sustainable socio-economic development through improvements to social service infrastructure and support to SMEs.
The program allows the European Union to engage in projects that would have been outside the scope of conventional development cooperation instruments, in a region where an increasing number of countries are in need of different approaches, instruments and forms of tailored support for investment. [About CIF | CIF - Caribbean Investment Facility (eu-cif.eu)].
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB):
The IDB works to improve lives in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through financial and technical support for countries working to reduce poverty and inequality, it helps improve health and education, and advance infrastructure. Its aim is to achieve development in a sustainable, climate-friendly way. With a history dating back to 1959, today the IDB is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. It provides loans, grants, and technical assistance; and conducts extensive research. The IDB maintains a strong commitment to achieving measurable results and the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability.
The IDB prioritizes social inclusion and equality; productivity and innovation; and regional economic integration in its development work across Latin America and the Caribbean. In doing so, it addresses the cross-cutting issues of gender equality and diversity; climate change and environmental sustainability; and institutional capacity and the rule of law. [https://www.iadb.org/en/about-us/]
The Geothermal Latin American and Caribbean Conference (GEOLAC) serves as the premier platform for the geothermal energy sector in the region, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among key stakeholders.