The power sector in Haiti is among the most ineffective in the Western Hemisphere. Prior to 2010, only an estimated 25 percent of the population had access to electricity services―leaving some 7 million people without power. The average person in Port-au-Prince had access to electricity only 10 hours per day, and half of the population was illegally connected to the power grid. Today, access to electricity in rural areas remains at approximately five percent. Moreover, 95 percent of Haiti’s electricity is generated by imported oil.
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 to maintain its operations.
Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Government aims to improve access to and reliability of electricity in Haiti. 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 un-served communities.
- Modernizing the Electricity Sector: Since March 2011, USAID has helped EDH prioritize its operational needs and identify options for improved management. With U.S. Government and other donor support, EDH continues to work to limit economic losses through improved billing and collection rates. At the request of the Government of Haiti, USAID will continue to provide technical and material support to build capacity needed to pursue modernization of the sector.
- 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 commercial tenants as well as that of residential and commercial users in surrounding communities. The plant currently has a 10 megawatt installed capacity and can expand power generation to at least 25 megawatts.
- Electrical Substation Rehabilitation: USAID supported the rehabilitation and upgrade in Port-au-Prince of five critical electricity substations that will reduce losses and strengthen the capacity of EDH to provide quality service to its customers. This U.S. support will double the capacity of the substations and enable improved electricity service for a potential 72,000 clients in the metro area.
- 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. USAID inaugurated a large charcoal-free cooking zone at the SONAPI Industrial Park in Port-au-Prince where food vendors selling to park employees consumed more than ten tons of charcoal per week. All charcoal stoves were replaced by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stoves that were made in Haiti by manufacturers supported by the USAID program. The addition of the LPG stoves is expected to eliminate the use of an estimated 540 tons of charcoal each year, and this approach is serving as a model for at least three more LPG-only public cooking and eating areas around Port-au-Prince. Additionally, in new U.S. Government-sponsored settlements, USAID is furnishing beneficiary households with new LPG cookstoves.
- Renewable Energies: The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is undertaking wind studies to determine the feasibility of renewable wind energy options in Haiti. NREL is also conducting a study to assess the most effective technology for generation of electricity from municipal waste in the Port-au-Prince area. In northern Haiti, USAID has initiated procurement for a two megawatt solar (photo-voltaic) generation pilot project at the Caracol Industrial Park. This will introduce the practice of supplementing fuel-oil generation with a mix of clean energy, where possible, thereby reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
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Last updated: February 19, 2014