Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Energy
Prior to the January 2010 earthquake, the power sector in Haiti was among the most problematic in the Western world. Only an estimated 25 percent of the population had access to electricity services―leaving an estimated 7 million people without power. The average person in Port-au-Prince only had access to electricity 10 hours per day, and half the population was illegally connected to the power grid.
The fragile power sector has faced further complications due to the earthquake. Access to electricity in rural areas remains at approximately 5 percent, and combined technical and commercial losses of electricity are approximately 75 percent, according to the World Bank. To maintain its commercial operations, Electrite d'Haiti (EDH)―the electrical utility―requires an annual Government of Haiti (GOH) subsidy of more than $120 million, representing approximately 12 percent of the national budget.
Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Government aims to improve access and reliability of electricity in Haiti. USAID is working in support of the GOH to modernize the electricity sector and expand the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in targeted economic corridors and associated un-served communities.
- Transition Management Contract: A key component of the reform of the energy sector is to build an efficient and financially sound sector. USAID has awarded a contract to a private, third-party utility operator to manage EDH operations and improve systems during a transition period and develop options for the long-term operation of the system. The future management of the energy sector will be decided by the Haitian government’s Council for Modernization of Public Enterprises (CMEP).
- Caracol Industrial Park Power Plant: Under the first-phase, USAID is constructing a 10 MW power facility to provide electricity to the new Caracol Industrial Park, being built with support from the Inter-American Development Bank, and surrounding housing settlements. The Caracol Industrial Park will employ up to 65,000 Haitians once completed; and the power facility, with the first-phase scheduled for completion by the middle of 2012, is a key component of the park. The power generation will be expanded to at least 25 MW to meet projected industrial and residential demands.
- Electrical Substation Rehabilitation: Based on assessments conducted after the earthquake, the repair and upgrade of five substations in Port-au-Prince were identified as critical priorities for the electrical sector. The underperformance of these substations is drastically reducing the system’s capacity for transmission and distribution of electrical power. USAID is supporting their rehabilitation in order to reduce losses and strengthen EDH system capability to serve its customers effectively.
- Alternative Energies: In coordination with the Government of Haiti, Haiti’s private sector, and Haitian civil society, USAID’s “Improved Cooking Technologies” program will establish a local market as well as a sustainable industry for clean cooking solutions, including Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and improved biomass cookstoves. USAID is also studying the feasibility of solar panels on the Caracol Industrial Park industrial buildings to supplement generation with clean energy. The U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is undertaking wind, solar, and solid-waste-to-energy studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy options in Haiti.