Despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017, Barbuda’s beach-filled paradise is about to become mostly green.
CARICOM Development Fund and other partners are joining the United Arab Emirates to develop a sustainable green power network for Barbuda.
The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund will collaborate with CDF to restore power to the island, along with the government of Antigua and Barbuda and the government of New Zealand.
“We’re not just trying to restore electricity to the island after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in Barbuda — we’re going to work to rebuild it even better,” said Sultan Al Shami, Assistant Foreign Minister for the United Arab Emirates. “The provision of a solar power plant to the island will solve its energy crisis, provide clean, environmentally friendly energy and improve the living conditions of the islanders who will operate and maintain the new solar power plant to help reduce the impact of climate change.”
The deal will see a $5.7 million disbursement from the UAE to assist Antigua and Barbuda through the Caribbean region’s largest renewable energy project of its kind.
Antigua and Barbuda’s government has also contributed $1 million through the CDF, and New Zealand’s government has pledged $500,000 to help finance the venture and construct a hybrid solar-diesel power station with hurricane-resilient battery storage facilities.
The plan aims to build a new, climate-resilient, secure, reliable and sustainable electricity supply for Barbuda in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which on Sept. 6, 2017, devastated 95% of the island and forced all 1,800 residents to relocate to Antigua.
“As part of the UAE-CREF’s second funding phase, this energy-efficient and multi-faceted venture on Barbuda Island exemplifies the degree of cooperation needed to ensure that renewable energy solutions spread far and wide to areas or states that can reap maximum benefit,” said Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Development Fund
The plant would displace an additional 260,000 liters of diesel fuel per year, saving the Antigua and Barbuda government $320,000 and annually offsetting 690 metric tons of carbon dioxide.