The USAID is awarding the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) a $24 million dollar contract for a three-year sustainable electricity pilot in Haiti. The project will serve to provide electricity to the rural region around Caracol and give at least 5,000 Haitians light. NRECA will consolidate an electric distribution system in Caracol with a a power generation system to create regional utility services able to serve the rural region.
The project will serve as a blueprint for sustainable electric projects both in Haiti and globally and NRECA is excited for the USAID partnership. The funds from USAID will allow NRECA to operate the power plant and train a competent, educated workforce to continue the project after the three-year duration. NRECA is a national service organization that represents the US not-for-profit, consumer owned electric cooperatives.
80 local Haitians will be hired and trained to oversee the project so that it can continue to run without the need for outside technical expertise. Electricity will be fueled by diesel and heavy fuel oil. In the future, plans to create a solar power component to fuel the project are being drawn up. The plant will be the only utility in Haiti to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
USAID hopes the model will be a new blueprint for providing reliable electricity and sound business help to meet the needs of economically-disadvantaged communities. The community will be engaged through focus groups to discuss topics such as costs of service, consumer obligations, and tariffs. The model and project are a step in the right direction towards sustainable development.
– Amanda Kloeppel