Energy security is a major challenge for the Caribbean. The region is largely dependent on relatively high-cost imported fuel and electricity. Small isolated economies and unattractive investment policies discourage investment necessary to build sustainable energy systems. The high cost of energy diverts resources away from economic development, reduces competitiveness, and renders the energy sectors of Caribbean nations vulnerable to supply shocks.
However, the region has access to an abundance of renewable and other energy resources. A concerted effort to provide assistance to Caribbean islands on difficult policy and regulatory reforms can attract the private finance required to implement new energy technologies and approaches.
To address these issues, Vice President Joseph Biden hosted the Caribbean Energy Security Summit in Washington, D.C. on Monday, January 26. In his keynote remarks at the Summit, Vice President Biden said, "...We're in the midst of a seismic shift in the global economy: the ascendancy of the Americas as the epicenter of energy production in the world. We have more oil and gas rigs running in the United States, than all the rest of the world combined. Mexico, Canada, and the United States is the new epicenter of energy...in the 21st century."
"An integrated North America, working to promote energy security beyond our borders can be a major asset for the entire hemisphere," the Vice President said. "And it's profoundly in the self-interest of the United States to see the Caribbean countries succeed as prosperous, secure, energy-independent neighbors -— not a world apart, but an integral part of the hemisphere, where every nation is middle class, democratic, and secure."
The Summit respresented a key component of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI) that Vice President Biden announced in June 2014. The Summit brought together government, finance, and private sector leaders from the United States, the Caribbean, and representatives of the international community to promote a cleaner and more sustainable energy future in the Caribbean through improved energy governance, energy diversification, greater access to finance, and donor coordination.
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