Haiti Biofuels Update (April 2008)
We've spent a lot of time talking about the potential of biofuels to revitalize Haiti's economy, protect the environment, and promote energy independence. From time to time, we'll provide you with updates of what is actually being done on the ground. This is the April 2008 update.
In early March, a representative of Winrock International visited Port au Prince to discuss private sector biofuel projects. You can read about the scope of Winrock's activities in Haiti here. Winrock International had identified 14 private sector projects and is working with them develop detailed proposals for potential funders. Some of the private sectors included Biocarburants d'Haiti, Centro Hispaniola de Investigacion en Bioenergias y Agricultura Sostenible (CHIBAS), Haytrac, and Terminal Varreux.
Several represenatives of the Haitian government including the Minister of Public Works, Transportation, and Communication (MPTC), the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Agriculture Joanas, and a Ministry of Agriculture Biofuels Task Force Member participated in a biofuels steering committee and the Washington Internantional Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC) in Early March. Take a look at the WIREC page on U.S Renewable Energy Programs and Renewable Energy Partners.
Haitian represenatives pledged that they would create a conducive environment for developing renewable energy. This is a welcome recognition by the government that it is the private sector which will have to do the heavy lifting when it comes to promoting biofuels. The Haitian government has a role though - It can show it is serious by helping to develop the needed infrastructure, courting investors, and forming partnerships.
We're still at the very beginning of promoting biofuel usage in Haiti. There are few countries in the world that need this as much as Haiti does. The stakes are high but steps are being taken to make it a reality. As always, we'll keep you updated of new developments.