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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08NASSAU623 2008-08-29 14:07:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Nassau
Cable title:  

CARIBBEAN ENERGY SEMINAR SPOTLIGHTS ISLAND INITIATIVES AND

Tags:   ENRG ECON EINV ETRD BF 
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VZCZCXRO1786
RR RUEHGR
DE RUEHBH #0623/01 2421407
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291407Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY NASSAU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5699
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NASSAU 000623 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: B/A
TAGS: ENRG ECON EINV ETRD BF
SUBJECT: CARIBBEAN ENERGY SEMINAR SPOTLIGHTS ISLAND INITIATIVES AND
RENEWABLE OPTIONS

REF: NASSAU 429



1. (U) SUMMARY: Advancing U.S. energy diplomacy in the Caribbean,
the USG partnered with the OAS and the GCOB to host a two day
regional sustainable energy event July 23-24 in Nassau. The
USG-funded, OAS-sponsored seminar brought Caribbean leaders together
with energy experts from the OAS, CARICOM, and other multilateral
institutions and lending organizations. Embassy Nassau joined with
the Departments of Energy and Commerce to sponsor a business
roundtable July 24 on strengthening public-private partnerships to
develop Caribbean renewable energy projects. The roundtable
spotlighted a new U.S.-New Zealand International Partnership for
Energy Development in Island Nations, and the announcement of two
new OAS grants as part of U.S.-Brazil cooperation on biofuels.
High-level USG involvement demonstrated commitment not only to
promoting renewable energy but also to helping regional partners
address energy challenges. The GCOB is beginning to think seriously
about energy options, and Embassy Nassau is working to keep
renewables on the front-burner. END SUMMARY.



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OAS SEMINAR: NO CONSENSUS ON REGIONAL STRATEGY


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2. (U) The "Caribbean Regional Sustainable Energy High Level
Seminar" July 23 brought government officials from Caribbean island
nations together with energy experts from multilateral
organizations, including the OAS and CARICOM, lending institutions,
such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and academia.
U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas Ned L. Siegel, Assistant Secretary
General to the OAS Ambassador Albert Ramdin, and Bahamian Minister
of Environment, Earl Deveaux acknowledged in their opening remarks
the Caribbean's heavy dependence on fossil fuels, the dampening
effect of the rising cost of oil and transport on regional
economies, and the need for immediate energy efficiency coupled with
environmental awareness. All stressed the need for collaboration
and cooperation to achieve progress in developing alternative energy
sources in order to keep the region economically viable and
competitive.



3. (U) Panelists from the OAS, CARICOM, IDB, and other multilateral
and lending organizations addressed the implementation of the
Caribbean Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Bioenergy Action
Program (CREBAP), the financial challenges of sustainable energy
development, and bridging the gap between recipient countries and
donors. Energy ministers and officials from a dozen Caribbean
nations and territories directed questions to panelists regarding
the specific challenges their countries face in the development of
renewable energy, especially citing access to funding and the
difficulty of crafting national policy in the context of regional
cooperation. Acknowledging the diverse renewable energy resources
of the Caribbean, energy officials were divided on whether to apply
a regional or national approach to implement renewable energy policy
and whether power companies should be under government or private
control.



4. (U) Regional participants included representatives of Antigua &
Barbuda; The Bahamas; Barbados; Dominica; Dominican Republic;
Guyana; St. Lucia; St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Vincent and the
Grenadines; Suriname; and Trinidad and Tobago. A planned
declaration toward the implementation of the CREBAP was not
adopted.



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



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USG ROUNDTABLE: PUSH FOR PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS


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5. (U) The "Business Roundtable: Opportunities in the Caribbean
Renewable Energy Sector" July 24 facilitated dialogue between
official and multilateral participants and private sector actors on
developing and strengthening public-private partnerships as the
preferred model of developing renewable energy sources. The
attendance of high-level USG speakers, including Under Secretary of
State Paula Dobriansky, DOE Assistant Secretary Andy Karsner,
Governor of Hawaii Linda Lingle, and Overseas Private Investment
Corporation president Robert Mosbacher, Jr., underscored USG
commitment not only to promoting renewable energy but also to
helping Caribbean partners address energy challenges.



6. (U) Under Secretary Dobriansky said in her remarks that
development of renewable energy sources addressed the twin
challenges of energy security and climate change. Assistant
Secretary Karsner described alternative energy development as a
three-legged stool comprised of capital markets, technology, and
policy regulation. Governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii forcefully
outlined accomplishments in increasing energy independence and
stressed the importance of island nations' eliminating energy
distribution monopolies and partnering with the private sector. Dan
Arvizu, the director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory,
underlined his mission of getting technology out of the lab and into
the marketplace.



7. (U) Panels addressed effective policy mechanisms and
public-private partnerships, how to identify and select

NASSAU 00000623 002 OF 002


technologies, and paths to commercialization. Participants included
operators of renewable energy facilities, financial institutions,
and other private sector stakeholders with an interest in deploying
renewable energy technologies in the region. Discussions centered
on how sources of funding for alternative energy projects could be
more easily accessed, how to advance the deployment of renewable
energy technologies, and identifying the right renewable energy
option to match the specific circumstances and comparative
advantages of individual Caribbean states. Presentations from both
days can be viewed at:
http://krcem.fiu.edu/DOS/index_files/agenda.h tm



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NEW DIRECTIONS


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8. (U) Two new initiatives were launched before the roundtable:

-- DOE Assistant Secretary Karsner and New Zealand's Ambassador to
the U.S., Roy Ferguson, signed terms of reference for the
International Partnership for Energy Development in Island Nations
(EDIN), an initiative to promote collaborative development of energy
efficient and renewable energy technologies on island nations and
territories, in order to improve global energy security and tackle
global climate change.

-- The Ambassadors of Brazil and the U.S. joined OAS Ambassador
Ramdin to announce that the Dominican Republic and El Salvador won
biofuels technical assistance grants from the OAS, representing a
step toward implementation of U.S.-Brazil cooperation on biofuels.



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COMMENT


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9. (U) In addition to promoting U.S. energy diplomacy in the
region, the events further focused GCOB attention on the potential
for renewables to alleviate the economic squeeze from high energy
and food prices while capitalizing on the island chain's ample
supplies of sun and wind. At Prime Minster Ingraham's urging,
Environment Minister Deveaux asked the Ambassador for full, detailed
information on conference proceedings, which Post provided.
Informally, Minister Deveaux indicated the GCOB's interest in
exploring renewable options for increasing power generation capacity
on Great Inagua, site of the Coast Guard/OPBAT base (reftel) as well
as a unique nature preserve, albeit in the interest of future
tourism and economic development. These are indications that the
GCOB is beginning to think seriously about ways out of fossil-fuel
dependency.

Siegel