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Background Information

Accessible, efficient, and dependable energy resources (electricity in particular) are key elements to advance and promote Haiti’s long-term development objectives. However, modernizing Haiti’s energy sector is a challenge. Haiti’s power sector is one of the weakest in the Western Hemisphere. Even prior to the January 12, 2010, earthquake, some seven million people were without power; only an estimated 25 percent of the population had access to electricity services, and half of those were illegally connected to the power grid; and the average person in Port-au-Prince had access to electricity only 10 hours per day.

In 2010, the combined technical and commercial losses of electricity were approximately 75 percent, according to World Bank data. In 2012, the Inter-American Development Bank estimated that Electricite d'Haiti (EDH)―the government-owned electrical utility―requires an annual Government of Haiti subsidy of more than $170 million a year to maintain its operations.

USG Strategy

The U.S. Government aims to improve access to and the reliability of electricity in Haiti, promote clean alternatives to charcoal use, and explore clean renewable energy options. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is working with the Government of Haiti to modernize the electricity sector and expand the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in targeted economic corridors and associated underserved communities. For example, USAID supported the rehabilitation and upgrade in Port-au-Prince of five critical electricity substations to reduce losses and strengthen the capacity of EDH to provide quality service to its customers. This effort has doubled the capacity of the substations and enabled improved electricity service for more potential clients in the metro area.

USAID’s ongoing targeted assistance includes the following projects:

Caracol Industrial Park Power Plant: USAID funded the construction of a power plant at the Inter-American Development Bank-financed Caracol Industrial Park that will meet the projected electricity needs of the park’s industrial tenants. The plant currently has a 10-megawatt installed capacity, and as electricity demand grows, it can be expanded to at least 25 megawatts.

Pilot Project for the Sustainable Electricity Distribution (PPSELD): The construction of the USAID-funded power plant also allows for opportunities to expand reliable electricity to communities beyond the Caracol Industrial Park. To take advantage of this opportunity, USAID is currently supporting the PPSELD program to provide reliable electricity distribution to four nearby communities: Caracol, Trou du Nord, Terrier Rouge, and Limonade. As of October 2014, more than 8,600 households, businesses, and government institutions had been connected to the power grid, and more connections are expected in the coming months.

Clean Cooking Solutions: In coordination with the Government of Haiti, Haiti’s private sector, and Haitian civil society, USAID is establishing local markets for clean cooking stoves and an industry to sustain it. Now in its third year of implementation, the initiative is showing strong results. Since 2011, there has been an 89 percent increase in imported liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), due in part to USAID’s efforts to promote this energy source as a cooking alternative. Additionally, USAID is supporting campaigns to encourage the switch from traditional cookstoves to LPG and more efficient biomass cookstoves. For example, USAID inaugurated a large charcoal-free cooking zone at the SONAPI Industrial Park in Port-au-Prince, where food vendors had been preparing food for park employees using charcoal. All charcoal stoves were replaced by Haitian-manufactured LPG stoves, and this switch is expected to eliminate the use of an estimated 540 tons of charcoal each year. Due to the success at SONAPI, this approach is serving as a model for at least three more LPG-only public cooking and eating areas around Port-au-Prince. USAID is furnishing beneficiary households with new LPG cookstoves in its new USG-funded settlements and also encouraging Haitian schools to adopt propane cooking techniques in their kitchens. Cookstove conversion campaigns, like the ones mentioned above, have saved the consumers an estimated $9 million in energy costs.

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Last updated: January 28, 2015

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