In partnership with RMI, the Caribbean Initiative at the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center convened top US officials, Caribbean leaders, US companies, civil society, and policy experts to forge solutions to the region’s clean energy challenges on the sidelines of Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to The Bahamas

WASHINGTON D.C. – June 15, 2023 – On June 9, the Atlantic Council with RMI traveled to The Bahamas to host the PACC 2030 Climate Resilient Clean Energy Summit on the sidelines of US Vice President Kamala Harris’ first visit to the Caribbean. The summit took place a year to the day after VP Harris announced the US-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis (PACC) 2030 at the ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

“The summit came at a consequential moment for Caribbean nations and US-Caribbean engagement,” said Jason Marczak, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center (AALAC). “Caribbean countries are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and their import-dependence of fossil fuels exacts a heavy toll on economies and livelihoods in the region. Partnership with the United States is an opportunity to overcome these challenges, and, fortunately, US and Caribbean interests are aligning, with US policy shifting to be climate and clean energy focused.”

Prime Minister of the Bahamas and Chair of the Caribbean Community Philip Davis and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Terrance Drew headlined the summit, with both focused on the growing need to make financing and developing clean energy projects easier and affordable for Caribbean countries. Open Society Foundations and Coca-Cola Caribbean System sponsored the event.

Prime Minister Drew underscored that his government “understands the importance of energy security and enhancing climate resilience,” but noted that “we cannot do this without external investment as we try to future proof Saint Kitts and Nevis against exogenous shocks which so often dismantle whole economies of small nations like ours.”

“Hopefully, the summit can be an example of how Caribbean ideas can and should shape future US climate and energy policy to the region,” said Wazim Mowla, associate director of the Caribbean Initiative at AALAC. “The summit’s outcomes and that of PACC 2030 can only be effective if regional stakeholders are willing to accept them.”

Joining them were high-level US officials, including Special Assistant to the US President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to the US Vice President Rebecca Lissner, Department of State Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs Brian Nichols, and representatives from the office of the Vice President, Department of State, USAID, Department of the Treasury, Department of Commerce, the Development Finance Corporation, Department of Energy, Trade and Development Agency, and Export-Import Bank of the United States.

The summit commenced with a matchmaking breakfast, where US and Caribbean companies were paired with government officials and multilateral representatives to identify potential clean energy investment opportunities and ways to mitigate the pitfalls plaguing energy development in the region.

  • At the development finance table, participants outlined the importance of increasing liquidity among local banks to increase access to finance for local projects. Experts at the local capacity table noted that the gap in knowledge around climate and clean energy technologies is a significant regional challenge.
  • Two other tables turned their attention to de-risking clean energy projects with blended finance and loan guarantees and appropriate technical assistance and project preparation pipelines. They also discussed how some of the energy grid challenges in the Caribbean are not dissimilar to ones in the United States.
  • A few common themes throughout included ensuring that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to challenges in the region, with each country carrying their own unique barriers to the clean energy transition. But that shouldn’t stop countries working together at a regional level to aggregate their markets and grids to attract new investors, participants agreed.
  • Three high-level panels followed with participants ranging from the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank to the renewable energy companies to representatives from various US agencies. The panels focused on:
    • Best practices in addressing energy security through climate-resilient clean energy in the Caribbean. Some panelists argued that while challenges pervade the region, there were plenty of success stories to choose from which showcased how developers and investors moved projects to the finish line.
    • Identifying funding and technical assistance gaps that could be bridged through greater private sector partnership. One person noted that privatization is key for the Caribbean’s energy transformation, with diversified utility structures the foundational element needed to move the needle on the region’s clean energy transition.
    • Exploring opportunities to further unleash the energy transition in the Caribbean while building greater climate resilience. With hurricane season already underway, energy grids in the region need to be up to the task of providing reliable power to citizens after strong storms cross the islands.

“The summit showed how an appetite for greater partnership and cooperation across the United States and the Caribbean remains strong,” Marczak added. “In The Bahamas, new friendships were formed, and old ones were strengthened. But what happens next will be the defining feature of the summit and Vice President Harris’ trip to the region.”


The Atlantic Council’s nonpartisan Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center (AALAC) broadens understanding of regional transformations while demonstrating why Latin America and the Caribbean matter for the world. The center focuses on pressing political, economic, and social issues that will define the region’s trajectory, proposing constructive, results-oriented solutions to inform public sector, business, and multilateral action based on a shared vision for a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future. Its Caribbean Initiative began programming in February 2021 to raise awareness about key Caribbean Community (CARICOM) priorities with US and global stakeholders while deepening US engagement with the region around shared interests. The Initiative is a platform for US and Caribbean stakeholders to offer new and innovative insights to advance a closer US-Caribbean partnership and the overall prosperity, stability, and well-being of the region.