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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN533
2006-03-27 12:38:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

EASTERN CARIBBEAN ALTERNATIVE ENERGY POSSIBILITIES

Tags:   SENS  SOCI  EAID  EPET  TRGY  ENRG  XL  CU  VE 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO2678
PP RUEHGR
DE RUEHWN #0533/01 0861238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271238Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2173
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BRIDGETOWN 000533 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

OES/PCI FOR LYNN LEWIS
WHA/CAR FOR BOB COLLINS
EB/ESC/IEC/EPC FOR MATT MCMANUS
WHA/EPSC FOR FAITH CORNEILLE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENS SOCI EAID EPET TRGY ENRG XL CU VE
SUBJECT: EASTERN CARIBBEAN ALTERNATIVE ENERGY POSSIBILITIES

REF: A. SECSTATE 36153

B. BRIDGETOWN 530

C. BRIDGETOWN 178

D. 05 BRIDGETOWN 2377



1. (U) This message is in response to the action request in
Ref A. See contact list in paragraph 9.



2. (SBU) Summary: The Eastern Caribbean is a land of missed
opportunities for alternative energy. High oil prices,
however, have recently brought the issue to the forefront.
This is a very timely initiative, given Venezuela's
PetroCaribe energy deal and new Cuban lightbulb aid (Ref B).
Post looks forward to actively cooperating with the
Department to encourage greater use of alternative energy in
the region. Paragraph 9 provides a list of potential
contacts from the Barbados public and private sectors for
engagement on sustainable alternative energy issues. End
Summary.



3. (U) Despite the potential to use wind farms, water power,
geothermal power, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), and
sugar cane ethanol for energy, the Eastern Caribbean
countries rely almost exclusively on diesel fuel from
Trinidad to generate electricity. (Note: Dominica, where
hydroelectric stations provide around forty percent of the
island's energy, is a notable exception. End Note.)
Sustained high oil prices, however, may make renewable energy
alternatives more attractive.



4. (SBU) Post has been actively engaged with the
alternative-energy community in the Eastern Caribbean and
wholeheartedly welcomes this USG initiative. Through his
PetroCaribe plan offering Caribbean countries soft loans to
buy Venezuelan oil, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has cast
himself as the region's savior, while castigating the USG and
U.S. energy companies as greedy imperialists (Ref D). Cuba
has also recently pledged to supply energy-efficient
lightbulbs to Antigua, Grenada, and St. Vincent (Ref B). For
these reasons, a USG alternative energy initiative as part of
the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development could
simultaneously help the environment, improve our standing in
the region, and attract support and funding from U.S. energy
companies.



--------------------------


Regional Efforts and Obstacles


--------------------------





5. (SBU) Most Eastern Caribbean governments are not very
environmentally sensitive and have not even implemented basic
environmental strategies such as recycling and vehicle
emissions standards. High petroleum prices, however, have
suddenly pushed the issue of alternative energy to the top of
government agendas.



6. (U) Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur devoted a
significant portion of his January budget speech (the Eastern
Caribbean version of a "State of the Union" address) to
alternate energy incentives (Ref C). He pledged to lower

import duties on energy-saving lightbulbs and construction
materials and also promised to make tax deductible the cost
of a home energy efficiency audit. In addition, he pledged
to spend US$150 million to shift the highly inefficient sugar
industry to the production of ethanol and fuel cane. Other
commentators on the sugar industry in Barbados have suggested
ramping up rum production and creating more high-value items
such as sugar cane brandy.



7. (U) A U.S. energy company that has the monopoly on
electricity production in Dominica and Grenada generates
around forty percent of Dominica's electricity from the
island's plentiful running water. St. Vincent produces a
small amount of hydroelectric power as well. In addition,
St. Lucia, Dominica, and St. Kitts are cooperating with a
Global Environmental Fund-financed study looking into the
feasibility of geothermal energy on the islands. The French
government and the Organization of American States are also
supporting this geothermal project.



8. (U) Officials in Dominica have said they would like to
export electricity to the neighboring islands of Martinique
and Guadeloupe. General Electric (GE) has sent technical
experts and salespersons to several of the islands to pitch
GE's alternative energy and water treatment products. To
help stimulate discussion of alternative energy, Post
recently sponsored a trip by the head of the American

BRIDGETOWN 00000533 002 OF 003


Hydrogen Association, Roy McAlister, to give the keynote
address at the annual Barbados Sci/Tech Green Expo.



--------------------------


Contacts


--------------------------





9. (U) In accordance with the action request in reftel, Post
recommends the following contacts for participation in the
Department's initiative:

Government:

Elizabeth Thompson-McDowald
Minister of Energy and the Environment
Government of Barbados
Tel: 246-467-5700

Lionel Nurse
Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Energy and the Environment
Government of Barbados
Tel: 246-467-5700

William Hinds
Ministry of Energy and the Environment
Government of Barbados
Tel: 246-467-5700
Email: energydiv@sunbeach.net

Academia:

Leonard Nurse
Senior Lecturer
Center for Resource Management and Environmental Studies
(CERMES)
University of the West Indies
Cave Hill Campus, Barbados
Tel: 246-417-4344
Email: leonard.nurse@uwichill.edu.bb

Leo Moseley
Deputy Principal
University of the West Indies
Cave Hill Campus, Barbados
Email: lmoseley@uwichill.edu.bb

NGO:

Dr. Hugh Sealy
Chairman
National Commission for Sustainable Development
Barbados
Email: HSealy@newwaterinc.com

Private Sector:

Rawleston Moore
Private Consultant
Barbados
Email: moorerawleston@caribsurf.com

Vincent McLean
Managing Director
Aqua Sol Components
Barbados
Tel: 246-428-0255

James Husbands
Managing Director
Solar Dynamics Ltd.
Barbados
Tel: 246-425-1540
Alternate Tel: 246-425-3264



10. (SBU) Comment: Venezuela's PetroCaribe initiative has
grabbed most of the energy headlines, and Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez has cast himself as the only political
leader who cares about the high energy costs these small
islands are facing. Cuba's recent entry into the energy-aid
game as a lightbulb supplier ups the ante. The U.S. cannot
match Chavez's offer of concessionary oil financing, but we
could help promote alternative energy and help connect
leading alternative energy companies in the U.S. with local
electric companies. These partnerships could well bear fruit
and increase U.S. influence in the region. U.S.-based energy
companies in the Eastern Caribbean, such as ChevronTexaco and

BRIDGETOWN 00000533 003 OF 003


ExxonMobil, would likely support this program to counter
Chavez. End Comment.

KRAMER