Only 28% of Haiti’s 10 million people are provided with regular access to energy. After the devastating earthquake that hit the capital city of Port-au-Prince in 2010, the availability and reliability of energy services were revealed to be crucial to the recovery and sustainable development of the country. The need for reliable energy sources was even more pronounced in rural areas, where largely underutilized renewable energy sources could provide affordable electricity for productive uses, social services and households, in place of inefficient and expensive energy products (kerosene, candles, and traditional disposable batteries) or wood fuels, which are overexploited to satisfy basic energy needs.
Complementing other ongoing World Bank technical assistance to the Haiti Ministry of Public Works, Transport, Energy and Communications (MTPTEC) on energy access, regulatory framework, and institutional strengthening, this grant provided:
- top notch international expertise to advise the Government of Haiti on the design of its rural energy action plan,
- analytics and rationale that led to a US$7.8 million component on ‘Off-grid energy investments’ in a subsequent approved IDA grant,
- support to Government to organize the two first national events on energy access,
- studies to assess the feasibility of potential investments in solar energy.
The US$100,000 grant financed two national workshops on energy access expansion:
- the first workshop was held in January 2012 with participation of the President of the Republic of Haiti, who launched a $30 million national program for energy access,
- the second workshop was held in April 2013 with the Minister of Energy Security. It was the first Energy event ever organized outside of Haiti’s metropolitan area.
Both workshops have also been South-South exchange events, with officials from Nicaragua and Mali participating in 2012, and with officials from Peru participating in 2013.
The grant also funded individual consultants to assist the Government of Haiti in the design of a national Energy Access Action Plan and recommendations for the Haiti Solar Street Lighting program.
Bank Group Contribution
This project was financed through a US$100,000 grant through the Spanish Fund for Latin America (SFLAC) and implemented by the World Bank. The Bank provided the required additional project preparation support for the subsequent IDA grant, as well as the international knowledge utilized during the conferences and workshops.
By organizing these workshops on rural electrification in Haiti, the World Bank allowed the Government of Haiti to have in one location all the active stakeholders and potential partners of the sub-sector. This resulted in a series of bilateral partnerships and new partnerships created between private sector (including Spanish firms working in the sector), public entities and donors/financiers.
In addition to the above mentioned additional funding provided by IDA, United Nations Environment Programme and Inter-American Development Bank, many nongovernmental organizations and private companies also partnered to implement rural energy access projects.
Although the limited amount of this grant (US$100,000) could not directly fund energy infrastructure, it has had a tremendous leveraging effect. A new US$90 million IDA project was approved in September 2012 (Haiti Rebuilding Energy Infrastructure and Access Project), which benefited from the activities supported by this grant. The project contains a $7.8 million component for Rural Electrification, aiming to provide access to clean energy services to at least 30,000 households.
Following-up the workshops funded by this grant, other donors also approved new funding for energy access expansion in Haiti: United Nations Environment Programme ($9.76 million for rural electrification in the South) and Inter-American Development Bank ($3 million for Technical Assistance to the Government of Haiti).
In the municipality of Delmas, where the first solar street lights funded by IDA in Haiti have been installed, the World Bank team met with a group of kids playing soccer on the street. “We can now play safely in the evening too”, said one of the kids. “And lack of light is no longer an excuse to avoid doing your homework!” replied a mother.
The municipality, which had no public lighting before benefiting from the solar street lights and has been trained to ensure its maintenance, avoids substantial expenses in energy consumption from on-grid lighting while providing a clean and reliable energy service to the urban poor.