The U.S. is planning to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to push a renewable energy transition in the Caribbean, according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The announcement came from Vice President Kamala Harris during a trip to the Bahamas, where Harris announced a planned total of $100 million in aid to the region, including $20 million for “transitioning to Renewable Energy and Addressing Climate Change Impacts in the Caribbean.”
“To support the region’s transition to renewable energy and increase energy efficiency, working with Congress and subject to the availability of funds, USAID intends to provide $20 million in funding to companies with financial and technical assistance and business development services through the Caribbean Climate Investment Program,” according to USAID.
The initiative will also form the Blue-Green Investment Corporation, which will work with Barbados, the Green Climate Fund, and private sector entities to form a “green bank.” The purpose of the bank will be to “finance projects such as climate resilient housing, renewable energy, clean transportation, and water conservation firstly in Barbados, and later expanding to other Caribbean countries.”
An additional $1.5 million will be committed to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, an informational and policy advisory group located in Belize.
The support for an energy transition abroad comes as the Biden administration has aggressively pursued renewable energy and moved away from traditional energy resources like coal and fossil fuels.
“The real truth is that as long as our nation remains overly reliant on oil and fossil fuels, we will feel these price shocks again,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said last year.
The transition could prove to be costly, with some estimates saying that climate-related provisions in Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act might cost taxpayers over $1 trillion.
“The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) contained a range of climate and energy provisions that PWBM previously estimated to cost $384.9 billion over 10 years,” a model from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business said. “Since that estimate, newer implementation details have emerged, and the fiscal year calendar has moved to start at FY2023. Our updated estimate for over 10 years (FY2023 – 2032) for just the climate and energy provisions is now $1,045 billion.”
Harris also met with officials in the Caribbean to discuss cracking down on gun trafficking in the region.