At the Vienna Energy Forum 2021 (VEF 2021), Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator (CCSA), the non-profit organisation which was incorporated in 2020 to help steer the Caribbean along the path to becoming the world’s first Climate-Smart Zone, shone the spotlight on emerging Blue Energy opportunities in the Caribbean for international investors.Since its founding in 2008 by a joint initiative of the Austrian Government, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, VEF has assembled thinkers and practitioners from all over the world to discuss practical solutions to sustainable development challenges and pave the way for tangible partnerships on the ground.This year’s VEF brought together stakeholders and experts to explore and deliberate on the key topics that advance sustainable development in the energy domain. Senior government representatives and leading experts discussed key priorities, offered local perspectives, and highlighted opportunities and potential solutions that also contribute to global climate action.

Guided by the motto “Where Action Meets Ambition”, the biennial forum is designed to spur actions, partnerships and recommendations to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals, and forge an inclusive pathway to attain zero emissions by 2050.Speaking at the Forum in a high-level Executive Round Table discussion on the topic : Spotlight on Small Island Developing States: The Blue Economy, Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator CEO Racquel Moses shared the Caribbean perspective.“What is becoming increasingly evident throughout the Caribbean is that there are diverse emerging opportunities in the blue energy sector, as well as with renewable energy sources that provide viable and cost effective alternatives to fossil fuels,” noted Moses. “While solar is becoming increasingly popular in the region, the potential for geothermal energy is at advanced stages of exploration. In short, what this means for blue and green investors, is that the Caribbean represents a potential market with an abundance of the necessary natural resources to start climate-resilient projects.”Moses also elaborated on opportunities for renewable energy solutions using various methods such as floating solar, offshore wind, both fixed and floating, tidal and wave energy possibilities, sea water air conditioning and hydro power.

While the CCSA CEO encouraged investors to explore the myriad of blue energy opportunities in the Caribbean, she also reinforced the point that at the top of the region’s needs right now was access to technology and development finance.“Development finance needs to firstly consider vulnerability to disaster risk, rather than GDP per capita in assigning facilities available to countries for development,” added Moses.“Without the critical reframing of development finance, the Caribbean will continue to find itself in the repetitive and disadvantaged position of being unable to afford the disproportionate costs of climate adaptation. We will be forced to rebuild after each storm, requiring support from the international community. That comes at the point when lives are lost, when what is required in advance is support for preparation and disaster risk reduction to prevent the loss of life, property and livelihood.”The CCSA CEO concluded by saying, “this has been a conversation that has been circulating for years, even decades. We are at the point now where discussions must evolve into actions. What the Caribbean region needs now is for development finance organisations to unequivocally state the criteria that guides the decisions on how funding is meted out, and reframe this if it will help accelerate resource availability to small island developing states”.Investors interested in learning about blue energy opportunities can get more information by contacting Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator by sending an email to hello@caribbeanaccelerator.org or visiting www.caribbeanaccelerator.org