There is hardly a place on Earth where the advantages and tremendous potential of domestic renewable power are as evident as in Haiti. Today, the country’s electricity system, which relies largely on dirty, expensive, and unreliable fossil fuel generators and an aging infrastructure, faces two urgent and interwoven challenges. First, it must develop the infrastructure needed to provide power to the three- quarters of Haitians currently without access to modern electricity services. Second, it must diversify its power supply to increase energy security and resilience to natural disasters and climate change.
Today, Haiti sends about 7% of its gross domestic product overseas for the import of fossil fuels each year, limiting the capital that can be invested domestically and exposing the country’s economy to a volatile global market and rising fuel costs. Erratic rainfall patterns and increased siltation from deforestation threaten hydropower production, highlighting the urgent need to diversify energy supply. e existing system is also vulnerable to natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake and the four major storms that hit the island in 2008. Such events are forecast to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change.
In the absence of a centralized grid system, Haiti has an opportunity to leapfrog conventional energy development, modeling a pathway to electrification and resilience that harnesses the country’s strong biomass, small hydropower, solar, and wind resources. Already, household-level solar systems and minigrids are benefiting end-users and can—over time—be incorporated into regional power networks.
Access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a linchpin to human development. is Haiti Sustainable Energy Roadmap—developed in partnership with Haiti’s Bureau of the Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister for Energy Security—explores the issues involved in building a sustainable electricity system based on domestic energy resources and capable of providing modern electricity services to all Haitians. It assesses the potentials of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and grid solutions; analyzes the social and economic impacts of various electricity pathways; looks into financing opportunities; and suggests policy and institutional reforms that will make sustainable energy investments more attractive.
Haiti has already demonstrated its commitment to achieving a more diverse, sustainable energy supply. We will continue to support the government and civil society as they move forward. is Roadmap is dedicated to the citizens of Haiti and to all those individuals—including energy practitioners, policymakers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and academics—who volunteered their time and expertise to support this project. Let’s now move from plan to action!