The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) approved has a loan to connect the island of Caye Caulker, Belize, to the national power grid by submarine cable.
“The submarine cable will provide cleaner, more secure, and reliable electricity to Caye Caulker,” said Daniel Best, CDB Director of the Projects Department.
It is estimated that energy consumption in Caye Caulker, a renowned tourist destination north of Belize City with a population of around 1,700 people, will double by 2037. Diesel generators are currently producing all electricity in the island.
By connecting Caye Caulker to the national grid from neighbouring Ambergris Caye with a 10.4 km submarine cable, the island’s energy consumption will effectively switch to 50% renewable energy. This will replace 730,000 gallons of imported diesel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4,000 tons yearly. The average costs of generated power used in the island will be more than halved from USD0.26 per Kwh to USD0.11 per Kwh. The connection by submarine cable is also operationally more reliable and more resilient to storm-surge and hurricane winds than the current diesel generators.
“CDB’s loan will boost renewable energy usage, reduce drastically the cost of energy, and make gains for the environment in the island,” said Best.
CDB provides a loan of about USD6.8 million, using 45% funds from the European Investment Bank and 55% own resources, to Belize Electricity Limited, which will contribute some USD1.8 million, about a fifth of the total project costs of about USD8.6 million.
As part of the project, the old diesel generator plant, located in an area renowned for eco-tourism, will be decommissioned and rehabilitated. This will reduce pollution and noise, while improving ambient environmental conditions in Caye Caulker.