From April 12 to 16, 2021, the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy and Logistics led a field trip to meet with stakeholders in the Toledo District to plan for new electricity projects that will be implemented in partnership with international development partners.
The overarching goal of the initiative is to bring electricity to those communities and villages that are unserved and lacking access to energy services. This joint initiative is supported by technical assistance of energy experts in the European Union-funded Technical Assistance Project for Capacity Building in the Energy Sector in Belize, which also provides grant funding to NGOs and Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) for improving energy services in the country.
The team visited the Indian Creek mini-grid project – also called the emPOWERing Rural Electrification Project (emPOWER Project) – that is under construction with grant funds from the United Arab Emirates-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (UAE CREF). The team also visited Corazon Creek, Mabil Ha, Santa Teresa, San Vicente, Jalacte and San Jose.
The participants on the field trip were particularly focused on the productive uses of energy services for agro-processing (including corn milling, rice de-husking, coconut oil production, etc.), eco-tourism, business services, irrigation, and refrigeration.
The Government of Belize and the European Union have signed a financing agreement that provides grant funds and technical assistance for electricity projects that use mini-grid and stand-alone solar technology to reach communities that are too far from BEL’s national grid.
The tour was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government (MRT), BEL, and the National Village Council Organization (NAVCO). Present on tour to conduct consultations were Mr. Marconi Leal, Jr., CEO in the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy and Logistics, and Mr. Valentino Shal, CEO in the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government. The field trip was facilitated by staff in the district offices of the MRT and NAVCO.
The initiative to provide access to energy services will continue with follow-up field trips countrywide to establish a national framework and plan for all unserved communities in Belize. The Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy and Logistics is committed to the national policy of universal access to energy services for citizens, businesses, and government administration.
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