The European Union (EU) supports Belize under the 11th European Development Funds (EDF) program in terms of more sustainable energy services. As such the EU has entered into a Financing Agreement with the Government of Belize (GoB) to support the implementation of the Belize Sustainable Energy Roadmap. The overall objective of the Financing Agreement is “Universal access to electricity from a clean and productive sector in Belize.”
There are three components to the Financing Agreement.
- The first component provides for a Grant Agreement to fund mini-grid electricity infrastructure for unserved villages and households in Belize on behalf of the government and the national electricity distribution utility Belize Electricity Limited (BEL).
- The second component provides for electric mobility in the public transport sector, with funding for electric buses on cross-country and urban routes, facilitated through an implementation partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Belize.
- The third component provides for technical assistance in the energy services sector in Belize, including to support BEL and other stakeholders for the implementation of the first component, above, as well as strengthening the energy sector governance in terms of a range of activities including policy development, legislation, energy information, strategic planning, regulations, expert studies and support for implementation of energy management, energy efficiency and renewable energy systems.
The LAIT UP BELIZE! project specifically fulfils the planned outputs of the third component of the Financing Agreement, but which also supports the objectives and activities in the other two components through technical support. A consortium comprising GFA Consulting Group and NIRAS Consulting, was contracted by the EU as the implementing partners for this component and the contracted project team is actively collaborating with the Energy Unit of the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy and Logistics to achieve the project outcomes.
The name and logo for the LAIT UP BELIZE! project was established as a catchier reference to the formal designation of the Component 3 in the Financing Agreement, namely, ‘Technical support towards capacity building in the Belize Energy Sector’.
Over a four years period (2020 – 2024), the project seeks to deliver the following outputs:
- A robust energy information and knowledge management system – with annual energy reports and key performance indicators
- An updated National Energy Policy – to guide all stakeholders in terms of how energy services and the energy sector will facilitate the delivery of national development objectives
- An Energy Act – to affirm the central role and importance of energy services in Belize and to provide the legislative, institutional, and financial basis for implementing the energy policy
- Increased access to electricity for unserved customers – in terms of the national goal of energy for all and the UN SDG7 by assisting BEL with the EU grant of 10 million BZD to implement up to four mini-grid electricity schemes for six communities that are currently unserved and beyond the reach of the BEL network (under Component 1 of the Financing Agreement)
- More efficient and effective utilisation of energy services in public buildings – freeing up GoB resources for other, more pressing national development objectives
- An Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme – with the BBS… to inform citizens of how (and why) to purchase more efficient appliances (such as fridges, AC units and lights) that have been certified by the BBS
- Awareness and technical assistance for increased productive uses of energy – such as agro-processing, industrial development, and local economic development
- Technical support to NGOs that will implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with separate funding from the EU
- Technical support for commissioning pre-feasibility studies for two new electricity generation plants – based on renewable energy – as part of the pipeline for investment that is suggested by the Integrated Resource and Resilience Plan (the IRRP) and other studies for new generation capacity