May brought a lot of news for the electric vehicle sector in Jamaica. In that month, the electric utility launched its first public electric vehicle charging facility, and a new market entrant commissioned four additional public charging facilities. Meanwhile, Barbados has become the main user of electric vehicles per capita in the Caribbean, with more than 430 vehicles on the island’s roads.
The transportation sector is an important source of fossil fuel consumption in the Caribbean. In Jamaica it represents 37% of fuel consumption; 36% in the Dominican Republic and 33% in Barbados (IDB, Inter-American Dialogue and OAS, 2020). However, the emerging potential of renewables, the decrease in battery costs and the implementation of incentives by governments, create the opportunity for Caribbean countries to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Electric mobility is gaining momentum in the Caribbean region as governments are implementing incentives to reduce emissions and electrify the transportation sector. The Caribbean can benefit from up to USD $ 2.2 billion in fuel savings through a transition to electric vehicles over the next 20 years. Therefore, governments are fostering partnerships with utilities and the private sector to encourage the use of these vehicles and charging infrastructure that can support the region’s shifts toward full decarbonization.
In the United States, the Biden administration has promised strong commitments to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and substantial investments of $ 2.25 trillion to promote green energy and decarbonization. One of the administration’s focal initiatives is the installation of more than 500,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, the deployment of electric buses and reimbursements for EVs to support electrification, and at the same time, promote training standards and facility that will create more than 1 million new jobs.
Jamaica’s strategies to attract key players and incentivize electric mobility
In Jamaica, the number of cargo ports went from zero to five this year, allowing EV owners to suffer less range anxiety while traveling around the island. For Jamaica to take advantage of the potential savings offered by electric mobility, the sector needs to develop policies, incentives and regulations not only for the operability of the charging infrastructure, but also to foster a dynamic business model that encourages participation by multiple actors.
To support the review and implementation of policies, regulations and tax incentives related to the development of the EV ecosystem, the government of Jamaica has established an Electric Vehicles Council, chaired by the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET). in English). This Council is also made up of representatives from other public entities, the public utility company, the regulator, and the private sector automobile industry. In addition, the Council offers an avenue for further collaboration with the private sector to implement measures that signal to auto investors, both local and international, that Jamaica is ready for electric vehicles.
The IDB and the IDB Lab, in collaboration with the Government of Japan, provided in 2019 non-reimbursable resources of USD 1.5 million to implement a two-phase electric mobility support program to the Government of Jamaica in order to encourage the early adoption of the VE while creating an enabling ecosystem. In 2021, the IDB proposed a roadmap to the Council on the immediate actions needed to promote electric mobility in Jamaica, which include a reduction in import tariffs and the implementation of a temporary EV quota to incentivize short-term progress. term.
The transition to electric vehicles is inevitable
The IDB recognized the importance of illustrating the tangible benefits derived from electrification by conducting an EV pilot project and facilitating training workshops and communication forums. The pilot project will import six fully electric vehicles, which consist of passenger vans and delivery vans and SUVs, and will be deployed in the private sector fleet for 12 months within the framework of the Sustainable Transportation Project and Support for Electric Mobility with Renewable Energy for Jamaica.
In addition, the pilot project will conduct fleet assessments to assess the business case and benefits of integrating EVs into the public sector fleet, and thus develop the business and financial models for future acquisition of EVs for renewal. of the fleet. The government of Jamaica will also participate in the VE Pilot Project to support its decision making.
To complement the IDB project, the IDB Lab has partnered with the JPS Foundation to implement the first initiatives in the electric mobility ecosystem. The project “Development of a Sustainable Electric Mobility Ecosystem in favor of Inclusion and Access” has the objective of installing 10 public charging stations; train 400 individuals in the maintenance and security of the technologies; develop an Electric Vehicle Fund and support 15 innovative business models to take advantage of emerging technologies, including: vehicle-to-grid, emergency response power, and a battery recycling program.
The project will also provide training for women entrepreneurs within the electric mobility sector. The deployment of renewable fueled (RE) charging infrastructure will help the government of Jamaica to achieve its goal of 50% RE by 2037. The IDB is also supporting the Generation Procurement Entity (GPE) with the development of competitive procurement rules to attract robust and bankable proposals for new sources of RE.
The advancement of electric mobility in the Dominican Republic and Barbados
Across the Caribbean, we have other examples of how policies and incentives have spurred the growth of transportation electrification. In the Dominican Republic, the government has reduced tariffs and registration fees for electric vehicles by 50%, allowing the number of electric vehicles to multiply almost nine times.
Meanwhile, Barbados has implemented policies and incentives to support its goal of achieving a 49% reduction in fossil fuel use by electrifying 100% of its buses and public fleet, which can generate about $ 200-400. million in savings. As the leading country in the region in terms of having the highest number of EV users per capita, this transformation of the energy mix can contribute to a cleaner environment and reduce oil imports.
Taking advantage of the expansion of electric vehicles within the Caribbean will create the jobs necessary to forge a future of modern, greener and more equitable energy for all countries in the region.