UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund Celebrates Inauguration of Hurricane-Resistant Power Plant on Antigua and Barbuda

11 MAR 2024
News Clean Energy
  • Hybrid solar power station developed on twin-island nation under US$50m UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund – a partnership between UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and Masdar

  • Initiative aims to deploy renewable energy projects across 16 Caribbean countries to reduce energy costs, increase energy access, and enhance climate resilience

  • Masdar developed and implemented Green Barbuda project, which will contribute to nation’s goal of meeting 86 percent of electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030

The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (UAE-CREF), announced that the hurricane-resistant power project developed by Masdar for Antigua and Barbuda to withstand even the fiercest winds, is now operational.

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, which destroyed 95 percent of Barbuda on September 6, 2017, and forced all 1,800 residents to be evacuated to Antigua, the climate resistant plant is designed to survive 265 km-per-hour winds and provide a safe, reliable, and sustainable supply of electrical power for the island.

The hybrid solar, batteries, and back-up diesel project is already helping to support the twin-island nation’s objective of meeting 86 percent of its electricity sources from renewable energy by 2030.

The Green Barbuda project was formally inaugurated at an event on the island of Barbuda by Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, H.E. Hazza Ahmed Al Kaabi, the UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba, and Ambassador Brian Challenger, the Ministry of Energy of Antigua and Barbuda, accompanied by a delegation from local and state entities.

Masdar developed and implemented the Green Barbuda project as part of its work under UAE-CREF, the largest renewable energy investment of its type in the region. Fully financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the US$50 million UAE-CREF was launched at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017 as a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), ADFD and Masdar. New Zealand, Antigua and Barbuda and the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) also provided funding for the project.

HE Mohamed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said:

It is a landmark achievement for the UAE-CREF to have driven an energy transformation in Antigua and Barbuda at such a scale. The project took into consideration the country’s high dependence on fossil fuel imports for energy needs despite having the potential to exploit its solar, wind and geothermal power. This initiative highlights the extraordinary capability of clean energy to drive socioeconomic development. This is why ADFD is multiplying it effort to accelerate the energy transition in the developing world, as the UAE leads the way to a low-carbon and zero-emission future.

HE Sultan Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for International Development Affairs, commended the project, which will both enhance sustainable development efforts in Caribbean countries, and consolidate the UAE's leading role in providing foreign aid, and promoting global peace and prosperity. "Renewable energy plays a key role in enhancing energy security within emerging markets, especially in small island countries that are vulnerable to the consequences of climate change,” he said. “The UAE is committed to advancing global climate change initiatives, as evidenced by its successful hosting of COP28 in 2023. The conference emphasized inclusivity and engagement with diverse stakeholders, resulting in the historic UAE Consensus among 198 Parties. This underscores the UAE's commitment to ushering in a new era of climate action. In Antigua and Barbuda, renewable energy projects not only ensure a sustainable future but also address immediate needs, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, said,

The Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda are extremely appreciative of the assistance from the UAE in our efforts to achieve sustainable development. In that regard the Green Barbuda electricity project has been a truly transformative one for Barbuda. It harnesses our indigenous renewable energy resources and has provided for the transfer of cutting-edge technologies as well as capacity building at the local level to manage the project. The project supports Antigua and Barbuda’s efforts to reduce its dependence on costly and volatile imported petroleum fuels and to develop our own renewable energy resources. At the same time, it also enables us in both adapting to and mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the UAE and other partners in expanding this project as a showcase of sustainable energy in the Caribbean.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said,

This is a proud moment for everybody connected with this project to deliver clean energy to the people of Antigua and Barbuda. The Green Barbuda project will ensure a more resilient energy supply for the country, helping to accelerate economic growth and provide tangible benefits to local communities. Here at Masdar, we look forward to supporting other nations across the region through the UAE-CREF initiative.

The bespoke project combines a hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, featuring 720 kilowatts-peak (kWp) of solar PV panels, connected to a 863 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery, and capable of fully meeting the island’s current daytime energy demand. The plant will enable Barbuda to reduce annual diesel fuel consumption by 406,000 liters and cut carbon dioxide emissions by over 1 million kg.

The UAE-CREF initiative intends to deploy renewable energy projects in 16 Caribbean countries in three cycles to reduce energy costs, increase energy access, and enhance climate resilience. Projects have already been successfully launched in the Bahamas, Barbados, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

As the UAE’s clean energy powerhouse and one of the world’s leading renewable companies, Masdar is at the vanguard of advancing the development and deployment of renewable energy and green hydrogen technologies to address global sustainability challenges.

Established in 2006, Masdar is active in more than 40 countries and has more than 20GW of capacity including operational, under construction or advanced development projects in its worldwide portfolio. Masdar has invested, or committed to invest, in worldwide projects with a combined value of more than US$30 billion with ambitious growth plans to reach 100GW by 2030.