The Smart Villages Initiative together with the National Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic held a workshop on 16-18 November 2016 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, to discuss the challenges to, and opportunities for, the provision of clean energy services to rural communities in Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. The workshop explored the role of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in boosting rural communities’ development, improving social services such as health and education, and mitigating the risks of natural disasters.
In Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico, there are around 16 million people that have limited or no access to electricity services. Countries in the region are vulnerable to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change. Energy demand is growing fast and most countries in the region are net oil and fossil fuel importers. They are consequently exposed to the price volatility of fossil fuels. To improve future energy security and mitigate the impacts of increases in fossil fuel prices, many national governments in the region are considering the integration of a broader range of energy technologies in their generation mix.