The American Security Project hosted a half-day conference on Wednesday, February 4th examining energy security in the Caribbean. Nearly 100 experts from academia, International Financial Institutions, the US government, and private corporations attended the conference which consisted of three panels. These panels discussed the current geopolitical landscape of the Caribbean, policy challenges posed to the region, and potential solutions to alleviate dependence on fossil fuels.
Introductory remarks were offered by Andrew Holland, ASP’s Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate. He gave a brief overview of the Caribbean’s current energy situation and emphasized the importance of the recent American energy revolution and its role in reducing energy dependence in the region by providing affordable, available alternatives.
The panel was chaired by Andrew Holland, ASP’s Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate.
The second panel discussed policy challenges and viable energy alternatives to fossil fuels in the region in an effort to reduce energy dependence. Natacha Marzolf of the Inter-American Development Bank discussed her institution’s efforts in the Caribbean, including funding for infrastructure and green energy projects. Ms. Marzolf stated that these projects can potentially result “in a 20-25% reduction of fossil fuel dependence.”
Calls for US investment in the Caribbean amidst the American energy revolution and shale gas boom were also mentioned. Brian O’Hanlon of OPIC described the need for good governance, finance, and donor support concerning future US investments in the Caribbean. O’Hanlon also noted the potential difficulties of making investments in the region, namely the inability of some of the islands’ small markets to handle large infrastructure projects.
Concerning the proliferation of shale development and natural gas production in the US, Michael Zehr of HBW Resources noted that the Caribbean is a potentially huge investment opportunity. Zehr on the shale expansion:
“We know where the resources are. We’ve got the geological data to find it and go get it; we just need markets to sell it. It has introduced an entirely new element to investments in those places [Caribbean].”
In closing, the panel reiterated US commitment and interest to investing in Caribbean energy, both publicly and privately.
Special thanks to Tropigas for generously sponsoring this event.
View the other Panel reviews below: