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Renewables can boost energy security and reduce power costs in Antigua and Barbuda – IRENA

Antigua and Barbuda can significantly reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels while driving down electricity costs for citizens, by meeting its energy needs exclusively through indigenous renewable energy resources, green hydrogen, and full electric vehicle (EV) adoption, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds.

Antigua and Barbuda can significantly reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels while driving down electricity costs for citizens, by meeting its energy needs exclusively through indigenous renewable energy resources, green hydrogen, and full electric vehicle (EV) adoption, a new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report finds (photo courtesy IRENA).

Working closely with the government of Antigua and Barbuda, IRENA’s “Antigua and Barbuda: Renewable Energy Roadmap” report suggests the country’s least-cost option for a zero-carbon energy system would include 90 percent renewable power generation from solar and wind.

Additionally, the country can achieve 100 percent renewables by integrating flexibility measures including green hydrogen and a fully electrified transport system.

The recommended mix would reduce Antigua and Barbuda’s levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from around US$0.15 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) today, to US$0.09 nine cents per kWh, significantly benefiting citizens and businesses in the country while meeting climate and development goals.

Rising energy costs have impacted communities, households, and businesses. The nation’s vulnerability and exposure to risk necessitate the transformation of its energy system to better adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Government has made a written commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, with the aim to not only contribute to emission reductions but more importantly to develop a robust national energy system that is based on the utilization of abundant natural energy resources such as solar and wind, said Sir Molwyn M. Joseph, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Health, Wellness, and the Environment.

Replace fossil imports

Antigua and Barbuda is a small island state with no indigenous fossil resources for energy supply, and currently, sources close to 97 percent of its energy needs through fossil fuel imports. Under the current trajectory, renewables in the power sector would grow from just over three percent now to around nine percent in the coming years, far below national targets.

However, the government has proposed an ambitious renewable energy goal to increase the share of renewables to 100 percent by 2030 for the revision process of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Fossil fuel imports account for more than 10 percent of the country’s GDP. IRENA’s recommendations would involve liberating state funds for investment in domestic renewable energy development.

Solar, wind, and hydrogen

Under the roadmap up to US$440 million of investment is needed by 2030, to build an energy mix dominated by wind (accounting for 47 percent of generation), solar (accounting for 40 percent of generation), and hydrogen fuel cells making up 13 percent.

Figure 28 shows the total share of generation for the 100% renewable energy scenario including hydrogen and EVs. The largest share of generation is coming from the wind turbines, covering 47% of the total load. The remaining electricity demand is met by solar PV with 40% and the hydrogen fuel cell with 13%. The doughnut chart with the total installed capacity by technology can be seen in Figure 29. The chart shows that solar PV is the largest installed capacity with 214 MW, followed by wind with 117 MW and then hydrogen with 40 MW (graphic courtesy IRENA).

The roadmap provided suggestions on possible policies and regulations that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda could implement to support the achievement of its ambitions, including following international best practice procurement guidelines, moving ahead with renewable-only independent power producers, and incorporating flexible residential solar PV into the planning and operations of the power system.

As with many of the world’s small islands, Antigua and Barbuda can achieve significant socioeconomic gains through a renewable energy-led energy transition. Greater energy security, reduced costs, and the creation of local jobs are just some of the ways in which renewables will deliver a more stable and sustainable future. Using the findings of this analysis as a starting point will work closely with the government of Antigua and Barbuda to help the country realize its full energy potential, said Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General.

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