IDB gives $3 million to up Haiti's power capacity with renewables

By Anna Simet | May 23, 2013

The Inter-American Development Bank announced it is supporting a $3 million technical cooperation project to help the Haitian government test a variety of renewable energy solutions, including biomass.

The ultimate goal is to expand rural electrification, as Haiti has the lowest level of electricity generation in the Americas, the IDB said. Over 70 percent of the population lacks access to electricity, and, according to the U.S. EIA, energy consumption per capita is about 1/100 of that of the U.S.

The IDB reported that the new project will finance feasibility studies and pilot projects to test models based on biomass, solar and hybrid approaches combining more efficient uses of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.

It will also fund studies to determine the feasibility of introducing natural gas in Haiti, which relies heavily on oil imports. The country imports and consumes 12,000 barrels of oil per day, according to the EIA. It produces no oil, coal or natural gas domestically.

In addition to the feasibility studies and pilot projects, the project will assist the Haitian government in establishing an office for rural electrification, and in developing regulations to promote the use of cleaner energy resources and energy efficiency for rural electrification.

“These studies will shed light on significant knowledge gaps,” said IDB energy senior specialist and project leader Christiaan Gischler. “Our goal is to give the Haitian government a clear picture of what it will need to carry out a successful rural electrification plan using renewable energy sources.”