CESaRE Impacts | Journal of CESaRE
The Journal of Caribbean Environmental Sciences and Renewable Energy (CESaRE) was developed in 2016 out of a recognized need to modernize and revolutionize the Caribbean's scientific research publishing. There are over 170 Caribbean research publications in the past 5 years falling under the broad field of environmental sciences, found scattered over a large variety of International journals, without a central (Caribbean) location to collate this knowledge. With the global shift towards renewable over traditional energy sources, together with a rise in environmental consciousness, this a perfect opportunity for highlighting such research conducted in the Caribbean. CESaRE will provide a suitable forum to encourage research into renewable energy, as well as the environmental sciences. CESaRE promises to be more than just a collection of articles, but also a forum to disseminate information and bridge the gap between research and implementation, from which Caribbean leaders, relevant industry partners, and authorities can use our Journal for more effective decision making and environmental management.
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Welcome to CESaRE’s Magazine Series

 

Opening closed-access research in the Caribbean

Take a look at this preview where one of our Correspondents, Nirvana Rajaram, illustrates the very relevant issue of renewable energy policies against the backdrop of Caribbean islands in the face of climate change.

 

 

 

The Stepping-stones to Renewable Energy in the Caribbean: Policies and Legislation.

By Nirvana Rajaram

My name is Nirvana Rajaram. I am a Trinidadian environmentalist with a passion for sharing knowledge about our environment and ways that we can support it. I currently have a blog page called The Trini Environmentalist which I use as a platform to spread information to the general public on pressing matters happening locally. I have studied in the field of environmental science and sustainable technology with the hope of continuing my education at the Master’s level.

An article published by Jessica Kersey, Philipp Blechinger, and Rebekah Shirley focused on how the implementation of policies and frameworks can affect the penetration of renewable energy use in Caribbean islands. This study analysed data between 2000 and 2018, a 19-year period. One of the most urgent tasks of the 21st century is to combat the effects of global warming and in order to slow the effects of global warming, our greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced. The best way to accomplish this is through the use of renewable energy sources since 87% of the Caribbean uses diesel as their power source.

 

Many islands have pledged to become solely dependent on renewable energy by the year 2030 in keeping with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable to economic risk due to the constant fluctuation of oil and gas prices. As a result, the cost of electricity in the Caribbean is more than double that of the global average. Although the Caribbean is rich in renewable energy resources, it has been slow in adopting the technology due to the lack of supporting policies and frameworks.

Lack of policies and frameworks is a barrier to the adoption of renewable energy in the Caribbean region

For this research project, the main objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of policies involving investment incentives, tax incentives, feed-in tariffs (payment to people who provide their own electricity via renewable energy), net-metering/ net-billing programs, and regulatory restructuring in encouraging independent power producers (IPPs) to use less fossil fuels for power production. The control variables used throughout the duration of the research were: Gross Domestic Product, Official Development Assistance, Foreign Direct Investments, Average Cost of Fuel, and Renewable Patent Count. There were 569 observations made from 31 islands over the 19-year period and to determine if the findings were significant, a pooled regression model was used.

 

In the year 2000, when observations on renewable energy had just started in the Caribbean, these 31 islands combined had less than 0.5% of renewable energy use implemented. Guadeloupe was the leading island with 10% of its electricity coming from renewable sources. Within the 19-year period, the use of renewable energy increased by 1600% going from 82 Megawatts in 2000 to 1417 Megawatts in 2018. Most islands by 2018 had between 2-10% of implemented renewable energy with an average of 5.3% application. However, this value is underwhelming considering that the global average is 26% renewable energy application. In 2018, the final year of research in the Caribbean, two Dutch islands were marked as the leaders in renewable energy. They are St. Eustatius and Bonaire which have 77.8% and 55.1% renewable energy capacity installed respectively, but only 45.5% and 32.8% utilization. However, not all islands are following this trend. Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, Bermuda, Monserrat, St. Maarten-St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, and the Turks and Caicos all have less than 1% of renewable energy being utilized.

The rate of uptake of renewable energy varies among Caribbean territories

Based on the research findings, four of the five policies and frameworks analysed showed a significant correlation to renewable energy capacity increases. These four policies include investment incentives, tax incentives, feed-in tariffs, and net-metering/net-billing programs. Islands that employed one or more of these four successful policies and frameworks showed considerable acceptance of renewable energy by the public and those islands made advancements more rapidly. Currently, in the Caribbean, both solar and wind energy are the most commonly used sources of renewable energy as the region’s proximity to the equator makes it a good candidate for these applications.

 

To conclude, some considerations taken throughout this research project were as follows. Firstly, it is difficult for the general public to make inferences based on the statistic analysis therefore in future studies it is proposed that the analysis be interpreted as correlative. Secondly, the rate and manner in which the policy is implemented should be considered, since an aggressive approach may be better suited to yield faster results. Thirdly, the status of the economy should be considered, since wealth can be a barrier to the implementation of renewable energy. Other factors such as fossil fuel subsidies and government/ political agendas can also impact the rate at which renewable energy penetrates the Caribbean community. In addition, the redirection of funds to aid in the pandemic relief would have put a strain on any renewable initiatives that may have been planned for 2019-2021.

 

References:

Kersey, J., Blechinger, P., & Shirley, R. (2021). A panel data analysis of policy effectiveness for renewable energy expansion on Caribbean islands. Energy Policy, 1-17. Retrieved 6 September 2021, from here.

One of the authors of the research paper discussed in this article is also the feature author of our current issue. Continue scrolling for the feature article where Dr. Rebekah Shirley gives us some more technical insight into just how these critical studies are carried out!

Our December 2021 Issue is out!

 

CESaRE Impacts has worked with Caribbean journalists in the environmental sciences and renewable energy to disseminate closed-access research coming from the Caribbean. In our latest Issue, we give you a feature article by Dr. Rebekah Shirley where she explores the effectiveness of renewable energy policies in the region.

Here’s a sneak peak below!

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