Developing Antigua and Barbuda’s abundant renewable energy resources will enable the country to meet a large share of its energy demand sustainably with renewables, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewables Readiness Assessment: Antigua and Barbuda presents practical steps for the country to maximise its renewable resources, primarily wind and solar, set new targets for renewable energy deployment, and strengthen energy efficiency measures in the country.
“Antigua and Barbuda has already surpassed its 2030 target of 15 per cent of renewables in the electricity sector as part of its efforts to mitigate climate change, ensure greater energy security and chart a path for sustainable economic growth,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “With significant solar and wind resources, Antigua and Barbuda is in a strong position to take advantage of the ever falling costs of renewable energy, and push towards even more ambitious renewable energy goals.”
Antigua and Barbuda is the second country in the Caribbean region to conduct an evaluation of its renewable energy potential through IRENA’s Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) programme. The island nation is in the process of developing more efficient and clean ways to generate electricity through the adoption of its Renewable Energy Act in 2015.
“We particularly welcome IRENA’s contribution, through the Renewables Readiness Assessment process, in identifying a road-map for ensuring that we can achieve the maximum levels of renewable energy possible at both grid scale and distributed levels,” said Honourable Asot Michael, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy. “The Ministry is cognizant that given the central role which energy plays in economic and social development that the country must develop and utilize its indigenous energy resources in order to achieve the vision of transforming Antigua and Barbuda into an economic powerhouse within the eastern Caribbean.”
The report highlights that under current conditions it is technically feasible to integrate at least 37.5 megawatts (MW) of solar PV generation to the grid on Antigua. Given that peak system demand currently stands at 50 MW, and minimum demand at 23 MW, the additional renewable energy capacity would correspond to a variable renewable capacity penetration of 75 per cent of peak demand.
RRAs are a country-led process that offer a holistic evaluation of conditions for renewable energy deployment in a country, and outline the actions necessary to further improve these conditions. The Antigua and Barbuda RRA recommends the country undertakes a number of concrete measures to support the implementation of renewable energy including an action plan to scale up renewable energy deployment:
- Review and rationalise the policy and tariff structure for grid interconnection with distributed renewables;
- Undertake a comprehensive public awareness and engagement programme aimed at all levels of society. This would educate people about the costs and benefits of renewables, promote awareness and understanding of the influence of personal behaviour on energy efficiency and sustainability outcomes, and engage consumers in the daily business of sustainability;
- Develop a national strategy for bioenergy and waste management development;
- Establish an independent energy commission with appropriate authority to regulate the electricity supply market in relation to sources of supply, grid interconnection, pricing and quality of service of all parties;
- Support renewable energy penetration in the power generation mix through standardised, technology-specific renewable energy Power Purchase Agreements.