The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved $21.9 million for the Renewable Energy Sector Development Project for the Caribbean island nation Saint Lucia.
This grant financing will help the Government of Saint Lucia assess the viability of its geothermal resources for power generation and strengthen the business environment for the private sector to pursue clean energy projects.
The funds will be used to support exploratory drilling, capacity building, technical assistance, and market engagement and will also prepare women for technical energy jobs by giving them access to educational programmes and employment opportunities.
Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, said: “This project will help the country evaluate how geothermal energy can contribute to the country’s national energy mix.
“Clean energy from geothermal sources can improve electricity system reliability and reduce the cost of oil imports. Transitioning to renewable energy would also decrease the country’s vulnerability to the volatility of fuel markets.
“The future development of geothermal energy, informed by the activities financed by this project, will translate into lower electricity costs for households and businesses.”
According to the World Bank, high electricity prices in Saint Lucia are impeding economic growth, with over 55% of firms identifying the high cost of electricity as a major constraint to doing business. Furthermore, while electricity is supplied reliably, the country remains almost completely dependent on expensive imported fuels for diesel-based generation.
Securing clean and resilient energy will also help the country to achieve a green economic recovery, in line with Saint Lucia’s Economic Recovery Resilience Plan.
The Renewable Energy Sector Development Project is financed by the Canada Clean Energy and Forests Climate Facility, the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the Clean Technology Fund, as well as funds from the International Development Association (IDA).