Dominica’s Energy Market: A Look at the Island’s Energy Infrastructure


Dominica, a small island nation in the Caribbean, has been making significant strides in recent years to transform its energy market and infrastructure. With a population of just over 70,000, the country has been heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels for electricity generation. However, recognizing the potential of its abundant natural resources, Dominica has embarked on a journey to become a leader in renewable energy production in the region.

One of the key drivers behind this push for renewable energy is the government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change. In 2015, Dominica announced its ambitious goal of becoming carbon negative by 2020, which means that the country would remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits. While this target has not yet been achieved, the country has made significant progress in diversifying its energy mix and investing in renewable energy projects.

Dominica’s primary source of renewable energy is hydropower, which currently accounts for approximately 28% of the country’s electricity generation. The island’s mountainous terrain and abundant water resources make it an ideal location for hydropower development. There are three hydroelectric plants in operation, with a combined installed capacity of 7.6 megawatts (MW). These plants are owned and operated by the state-owned utility company, Dominica Electricity Services Ltd (DOMLEC).

In addition to hydropower, Dominica has been exploring other renewable energy sources, such as geothermal and solar power. The island is located on the boundary of the Caribbean and North American tectonic plates, which creates a geothermal hotspot with significant potential for electricity generation. In 2018, the government signed an agreement with the Icelandic company, Reykjavik Geothermal, to develop a 7 MW geothermal power plant. The project, which is expected to be completed by 2023, will significantly reduce the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and contribute to its carbon-negative goal.

Solar energy is another area of focus for Dominica, with several small-scale solar projects already in operation. In 2019, the government launched the Solar Street Lighting Project, which aims to replace traditional streetlights with energy-efficient LED lights powered by solar panels. This initiative not only reduces the country’s energy consumption but also contributes to improved safety and security in communities across the island.

Dominica’s efforts to transform its energy market have not gone unnoticed by international organizations and development partners. In 2018, the country was awarded a grant of $27 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to support its geothermal project. Additionally, the World Bank has provided financial and technical assistance for various renewable energy initiatives, including the construction of a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and the development of a comprehensive energy sector strategy.

While Dominica has made significant progress in diversifying its energy mix and investing in renewable energy projects, there are still challenges to overcome. The high upfront costs of renewable energy technologies, limited access to financing, and the need for capacity building and technical expertise are some of the barriers that the country faces in its transition to a sustainable energy future.

Nevertheless, Dominica’s commitment to renewable energy and its efforts to transform its energy market serve as an inspiration for other small island developing states (SIDS) in the Caribbean and beyond. By harnessing its abundant natural resources and investing in sustainable energy infrastructure, Dominica is not only working towards achieving its carbon-negative goal but also paving the way for a more resilient and sustainable future for its people and the environment.



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