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Caribbean needs $30 bln to overhaul ageing infrastructure -bank
June 17, 2014 / 11:03 AM / 3 years ago

Caribbean needs $30 bln to overhaul ageing infrastructure -bank

* Inefficient power plants need to be replaced

* More renewable energy, efficiency needed

LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - The Caribbean needs $30 billion of investment over the next 10 years to modernise its power and other infrastructure, a top regional banker said on Tuesday, in a pitch for funds supposed to be available to help developing nations curb carbon emissions.

Industrialised nations agreed five years ago to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing nations reduce emissions, but progress has been slow and many developing countries expressed concerns about this at United Nations talks towards a new global climate deal in Germany last week.

“In the energy sector alone, massive investment will be needed to replace obsolete and inefficient power generation plants over the next five years and to transform electricity infrastructure,” Caribbean Development Bank President Warren Smith said at a conference in London.

The bank, whose 19 borrowing members including the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, was established to ensure the economic development of countries in the Caribbean.

It has helped finance solar systems to bring low-carbon energy to villages and power water supplies. But most countries in the Caribbean remain dependent on imported fossil fuels for power generation and are vulnerable to fluctuations in prices.

They are also exposed to extreme weather events and climate change.

Increased renewable energy generation and improved efficiency would help support new jobs, lower electricity costs and reduce those energy imports, the bank said. But raising finance to help such countries cope with the effects of climate change is one of the main sticking points at the U.N. talks on a 2015 global climate deal.

Developed nations agreed in 2009 to raise aid to developing nations to $100 billion a year by 2020, but the U.N.’s “Green Climate Fund” set up to channel the cash lies empty after launching last month.

Representatives of low-lying island states expressed concerns about the cash being raised at the U.N. talks.

“The probability of our region being hit, each year, by a natural disaster is as high as 10 to 24 per cent and the annual economic cost of damage from natural hazards is around 1 percent of GDP (gross domestic product),” Warren said. (Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by David Holmes)

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