The Climate Conscious Podcast

COP28 Ambitions & the Secret Sauce for Caribbean Energy Resilience

November 29, 2023 Derval Barzey / David Gumbs / James Fletcher / Ije Ikoku Okeke Season 7 Episode 58
The Climate Conscious Podcast
COP28 Ambitions & the Secret Sauce for Caribbean Energy Resilience
Show Notes

In this episode, host, Derval Barzey, chats with three experts on Caribbean priorities for COP28 and how preparing and de-risking energy projects can function as “the secret sauce” to unlock resilient, renewable energy at scale:


  • David Gumbs, Director with RMI Islands and former CEO of the Anguillan Utility Company.
  • Dr. James Fletcher, CEO of Soloricon and former St. Lucian Minister of Public Service
  • Ije Ikoku Okeke, Managing Director with RMI’s Catalytic Climate Capital and Global South Program


David Gumbs highlights the need for energy resilience in the Caribbean. 

Mr. Gumbs is the former CEO of the electric utility in Anguilla. He shares his personal experiences of rebuilding after Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms on record. Utilities face challenges in transitioning to clean energy. With the increased intensity and frequency of storms, a holistic transformation is needed in the utility sector, involving a shift from centralized to distributed electricity systems to enhance resilience.

Project preparation and development are crucial for overcoming hurdles and ensuring the feasibility and bankability of clean energy projects. David emphasizes the need for financial resources and technical capacity to facilitate the sustainable energy transition in the Caribbean.


Dr James Fletcher provides an overview of the history and Caribbean presence at COP, emphasizing this year’s priority areas for the region. 

Dr. Fletcher played a critical role in negotiating the Paris Agreement, with the goal of limiting global temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius at COP21.

Unfortunately, the years post-COP21 have not lived up to the promise of Paris. Ambitions for greenhouse gas reduction have not gained momentum as needed. Progress on loss and damage has been slow, climate finance remains a challenge for the debt-laden Small Island Developing States, and there's a significant risk of global temperature increase surpassing the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal.


Ije Ikoku Okeke speaks about the solution to mobilize climate capital and scale energy resilience in the region. 


Ms. Okeke has 15 years of experience in project development, working in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Project preparation and development is a crucial prerequisite for the large-scale deployment of sustainable energy solutions. RMI (Founded as Rocky Mountain Institute) identifies it as a necessary step to attract investors and move projects beyond the pilot phase. RMI collaborates with governments, identifies clean energy investment opportunities, and secures funding to move projects to financial close. Ije shares the example of the positive impact of project preparation and development in deploying renewable energy in St. Lucia.

Ije sees COP28 as a crucial platform to progress the dialogue on achieving energy transition goals. The expectation is to exchange ideas, share learnings, and seek partnerships to deepen impact.


Attending COP 28?

On December 1 during COP 28, RMI is hosting a key event for boosting climate resilience, project preparation and de-risking of projects, highlighting their work in the Caribbean.

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