A strategic partnership is more than just an intention. It is more than just a telephone call, an email or a handshake. Beyond the paperwork of a non-disclosure agreement or a memorandum of understanding, a strategic partnership is a long-term commitment toward a shared goal and a recognition that organizations with the same strategic mission are more efficient and effective when working together.
The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) is excited to announce its strategic partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room (RMI-CWR) in accelerating clean energy and energy efficiency in the Caribbean. The Caribbean is home to 40 million people whose energy demands are growing rapidly, driven by modernization of their economies and population growth rates at up to 4.5 percent per year in some countries. Most Caribbean islands must import oil to meet over 95 percent of their electricity needs, exposing these small countries to volatile international markets and the “export” of petrodollars on a continuing basis. In addition, diesel generation plants are typically inefficient, in need of replacement, and a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; meanwhile, the islands’ greatest indigenous energy resources, the sun and the wind, remain largely untapped.
According to the Caribbean Electricity Service Corporation, electricity prices in the Caribbean average $0.34/kWh and can reach as high as $0.50/kWh. These prices have tripled in the last ten years. On average, 15 percent or more of the total gross domestic product (GDP) is devoted to electricity consumption in Caribbean island nations. At the family level, a household earning $13,000/year could spend up to 25 percent of its income on electricity, leading to chronic and widespread fuel poverty.
Our organizations realized that together, as one voice and one trusted resource to our government partners, we can achieve so much more than working independently to advance sources of renewable energy and create resiliency in the Caribbean. Together, we aim to provide our island partners with whole-systems solutions knowing islands lie at the frontlines of climate change. Our team’s objective is to usher in a comprehensive energy transition regionally across the Caribbean and ultimately across small island developing states globally around the world. By partnering with governments, utilities, financing institutions, and the private sector, we help islands realize their own vision for a sustainable future.
CCI, launched by the Clinton Foundation in 2006, is working with small island developing states around the world to create, advance, and scale diesel replacement solutions. Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room, under the banner of the Ten Island Challenge, which was officially launched at Rio+20, is working with ten island nations to accelerate commercial opportunities to transition island economies off fossil fuels.
Whether it’s working together to initiate an integrated energy planning processes or to support the preparation and implementation of energy projects, our actions are rooted in developing green, prosperous economies in small islands developing states. For example, our team’s joint Community of Practice fosters continuous knowledge exchange between island utility engineers, government practitioners, and development partners. These are the sorts of catalytic solutions our partnership provides to island nations to build stronger, more resilient economies.
Our partnership leverages RMI’s technical expertise, CWR’s island project portfolio, and CCI’s strong relationships and project management skills. We appreciated our diverse experiences and acknowledged the need for applying our lessons learned to ensuring a strong Caribbean energy transition. We do not let the fact that we have different email addresses interfere with getting things done. This partnership, with a team of 25 highly trained staff with over 150 years of collective experience in renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management, transportation, project development, and in the technical, financial, policy and legal fields, is now working together, as one team, with our island partners. Most importantly, we listen, we adjust and we respect one another, acknowledging that no person is an island.
In the words of the pioneer Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”