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World Bank funds energy access in Haiti, including small hydro rehab

The World Bank has increased funding for the Haiti: Renewable Energy for All Project by approving an additional $6.9 million for the initiative.

The bank’s International Development Association (IDA) will provide up to $4 million of the additional financing as a grant, and $2.9 million will be provided by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme Trust Fund. Since the 2018 launch, which used a $19.62 million grant from the Strategic Climate Fund, the project aims to scale up the adoption of renewable energy in health infrastructure, households, businesses and community services.

The Haiti government will use the additional funding to expand the provision of clean and reliable electricity for at least four priority healthcare facilities involved in the response to the pandemic. Some solar PV and battery energy storage systems will be installed for health infrastructure and water facilities.

The country’s hospitals rely heavily on backup diesel generators, as grid electricity is often available only for a few hours a day. Lack of reliable electricity is constraining the efficiency of laboratories to test for COVID-19, is limiting the distribution and safe storage of medicines (and eventually vaccines), and can prohibit the use of life-saving equipment, such as oxygen concentrators.

The funding will also be used to complete the rehabilitation of the 2.65-MW Drouet small hydroelectric plant in the community of Saint-Marc, Artibonite Department, which will provide clean and reliable electricity to nearby communities and the regional grid. The project is owned by Electricite d’Haiti, and the powerhouse contains five turbine-generator units.

“Access to reliable energy is essential to reinforce the ability of Haiti’s healthcare centers to power essential equipment needed to manage the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other priority health services. This timely intervention complements our existing support to the health sector, while strengthening the country’s resilience to future shocks,” said Anabela Abreu, World Bank country director for Haiti. “Clean and locally-available energy access will also foster inclusive growth in Haiti, facilitating new investments and innovations, which are fundamental for economic recovery from the pandemic.”