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Featured Photo above: Stakeholders share a photo opportunity at the Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance launch.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a three year US$4 million Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance led by Cadmus Group LLC (Cadmus).

This alliance, which involves a number of prominent local organisations, is expected to invest up to US$50 million to boost Jamaica’s renewable energy landscape, with direct economic and environmental impacts in the energy sector to the benefit of Jamaica’s tourism sectors, and other essential industries.

Emphasizing the critical need for public-private sector co-operation in the development of Jamaica’s energy sector, USAID Acting Deputy Administrator, John Barsa, characterized the new initiative as “critical to Jamaica’s future and part of our efforts to increase the diversity of Jamaica’s energy, to strengthen the resilience of energy systems and infrastructure and to decrease vulnerability to natural disasters.”

Speaking at the alliance launch event, on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, at LASCO Distributors Limited headquarters in St Catherine, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Daryl Vaz reiterated the importance of Jamaica’s transition to a resilient renewable energy hub and the alliance programme’s role.

He said, “This new partnership will assist in the creation of a resilient and robust energy sector as we enter the decade of growth and development towards the year 2030.”

Alliance activities aim to reduce key barriers to renewable energy and battery storage adoption and enhance business continuity amongst Jamaican companies.

Jamaican businesses that choose to engage with the alliance programme, will receive in-depth and tailored case assessment to understand the technical feasibility of installing solar at their sites.

These entities will also access information to demystify installation decisions and processes, and opportunities for financing from alliance partners.

The Alliance initiative also offers hands-on training for those interested in becoming certified solar installers, which is anticipated to strengthen the sector through workforce development with the engagement of underrepresented populations, including women.

Scholarships for this training will be available.

At the launch event USAID Jamaica Country Representative, Jason Fraser, led a subset of alliance partners in a panel discussion about the alliance’s activities and value proposition.

The Jamaican Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA); LASCO Distributors Limited; The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus; Jamaican renewable energy developer, Wigton Wind Farms Limited, international solar energy investor WRB Energy and Cadmus participated in the discussion. Other alliance members include the Rocky Mountain Institute, Xergy Energy, and Green Solutions International.

In her remarks at the launch, Vice President of International Programs at Cadmus, summarized the partners’ collective contributions: “Our alliance intends to accelerate the market for distributed, solar and storage projects in Jamaica, reducing reliance on centralized energy sources which are especially vulnerable to natural or human-made shocks, while simultaneously accelerating the transition to clean and sustainable energy sources.”

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Article first appearing in Loop News, entitled “USAID awards US$4 million towards Jamaica Renewable Energy Alliance” by the Jamaica Observer Staff, on January 15, 2021