In a historic visit to The Bahamas, Vice President Harris announced new initiatives to support Caribbean countries in their clean energy transitions and in mitigating the impact of climate change.
“As neighbors, the United States shares common bonds and interests with the Caribbean nations,” the vice president said June 8. She called the U.S.-Caribbean partnership “essential to our mutual security and prosperity.”
She made her comments as she co-hosted the U.S.-Caribbean Leaders Meeting in Nassau with Philip Davis, prime minister of The Bahamas. It was her fourth meeting with the region’s leaders.
During her trip, Harris announced more than $100 million to address climate, energy, food security and humanitarian assistance in the Caribbean.
Harris is the highest-ranking U.S. government official to visit The Bahamas since its 1973 independence.
Progress on the climate front
Harris noted that “Caribbean nations are on the front lines” in regard to the climate crisis. She said powerful storms can wipe out economic progress, and low-lying islands face erosion, flooding and deadly storm surge from rising seas.
This is why last year, leaders launched the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030) during the Summit of the Americas.
Since the leaders met last year in Los Angeles, she said, the United States has helped move forward clean energy projects throughout the region, including projects in:
- St. Lucia, to power schools, hospitals and water treatment plants with solar microgrids.
- Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis, to develop commercial geothermal power projects.
- Antigua and Barbuda, to train a clean energy workforce.
- Dominican Republic, to integrate battery storage in its energy grid.
- Jamaica, to develop a national emergency commercial infrastructure system.
Harris said the region’s security and prosperity require “the type of collaboration and partnership” developed over the last two years.
How the U.S. supports PACC 2030
Other new initiatives under PACC 2030 include:
- Climate adaptation: $20 million to mobilize the private sector to deploy technologies to prepare for and adjust to the impact of climate change.
- Disaster risk reduction: $15 million to prevent and better prepare for environmental disasters and improve emergency responses.
- “Power Hours”: A new training series for Caribbean energy regulators to learn clean energy investment and procurement procedures as they prepare for a greener power system and more electric vehicles.
- Surge risk maps: Maps created by experts at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help people of the Caribbean understand pathways and risks from landfalling tropical cyclones.
“It is the full intention of our administration and the United States to continue doing this good work, knowing, of course, there is more to do, but that progress has been made,” Harris said.