The World Bank Group has announced that its board of executive directors approved an additional US$6.9-millionn to finance ‘Haiti: Renewable Energy for All Project’.
With this additional assistance, the Haitian authorities will increase their investments in renewable energy to improve access to electricity for health infrastructure, households, businesses, and community services.
World Bank country director for Haiti, Anabela Abreu stated, “Access to reliable energy is essential to reinforce the ability of Haiti’s health care centres to power essential equipment needed to manage the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other priority health services. This timely intervention complements our existing support to the health sector while strengthening the country’s resilience to future shocks.”
She added, “Clean and locally available energy access will also foster inclusive growth in Haiti, facilitating new investments and innovations, which are fundamental for economic recovery from the pandemic.”
Haiti has the worst level of access to electricity in the Western Hemisphere with only 79% of the population having access to power in urban areas whilst, in rural areas, this can be even less than 5%. In many regions, there is no stable electrical grid, and facilities such as hospitals are forced to rely on diesel generators because power from the grid is only accessible for a few hours a day.
This poses a serious challenge not only for laboratories testing for COVID-19 but also hinders the safe storage of medicines that require refrigeration and prevents the use of ventilators to save the lives of those patients affected by coronavirus.
The money allocated by the World Bank aims to support all Renewable Energy Projects in Haiti. The Haitian government is planning to finance PV installations and energy storage based on batteries in order to provide healthcare facilities with power.
The Haitan government will also finance the restoration of the Drouet mini hydroelectric plant in the Artibonite Department with the aim of this facility being able to support the regional electrical grid and thus give access to a stable energy source for those living in communities nearby.
Recently, the government has prioritized building new energy capacities based mostly on solar power and thermal power. In July 2020, Haitian President, Jovenel Moïse, announced a tender for 190 MW of solar generation capacity – 130 MW of PV projects and 60 MW of thermal power facilities.
Haiti is planning to construct its biggest solar power plant in the capital Port-au-Prince with a total capacity of 50MW. Other big solar projects in the pipeline will be located in Cap Haïtien and Gonaïves (20MW), Port-de-Paix, and Jacmel (10MW) and in Jeremie (5MW).
The projects are part of the President’s plan to enhance access to electricity by the end of his term in office which will be in February 2022.
At the moment, Haiti has only 3MW of solar capacity installed and the country’s total energy capacity is about 400 MW whereas its demand is estimated to be around 1 GW. This means that only 40% of the population has access to a stable power source.
While the total amount of the additional World Bank help is US$6,9 million, US$4 million of this comes from a grant from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank and US$2.9 million from the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program Trust Fund.