Navigating energy transitions is a key issue for COP27 and many SIDS have set bold targets for a net-zero future. With most SIDS heavily dependent on fossil fuel imports for energy, the renewable energy agenda is a critical factor in reducing economic vulnerability while also contributing to climate change mitigation. However, a recent ECLAC Caribbean study and working group found that more emphasis needs to be given to the role of science, technology and innovation in advancing the growth and development of the energy transition and electricity sector within the region. The study acknowledged that while some Caribbean governments are recognizing the importance of science and technology policy and creating thematic ministries and specialized institutions, the broader institutional frameworks have stalled with respect to integrating technology and innovation into national sustainable development priorities. A recent UNDP-supported study for developing an Innovation Hub for Grenada discusses the transformative impact of technology and innovation can have in SIDS and offers guidance for leveraging resources and expertise across global networks and the Diaspora.
Supporting policy frameworks will also be key to supporting this transition. For instance, the Barbados National Energy Policy (BNEP) was designed to meet the country’s ambition to be net-zero by 2030, with key programmes such as the Barbados’ Residential Energy Efficiency Programme (REEF) to offer incentives to bring all households on board to benefit from their “Right to Renewable Energy”. Depending on the energy usage and the size renewable solution installed at the residence, many homeowners can expect to realize a net monthly revenue gain which is guaranteed, subject to energy usage, well into 2030. These policy frameworks and incentives spur the development and availability of renewable energy solutions and innovation to accelerate the transition.
Read the rest of SIDS bulletin 66 here.