Roadmap to a sustainable energy system: harnessing the Dominican Republic’s sustainable energy resources

The Dominican Republic’s energy sector is at a crossroads. Currently, the country depends on fossil fuel imports for 86% of its electricity generation, bringing enormous economic and environmental costs and necessitating a transition to a more sustainable energy system. In 2011, the Dominican Republic spent 8.6% of its GDP on fossil fuel imports. Electricity prices in the country are low for the region, at about 21 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour in the commercial and industrial sectors and 27 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour in the residential sector. In 2011, an estimated 85% of Dominican citizens received a subsidized electricity billing rate, which was projected to cost the government USD 1 billion. Transmission and distribution losses are very high, at 38%, leading to significant financial losses for the Dominican power system. The reliance on fossil fuels for power generation also results in high local pollution and healthcare costs and contributes to global climate change. The Dominican government is considering phasing out the use of petroleum for electricity—which currently accounts for over 40% of generation—by increasing imports of coal or LNG. Although these energy sources could provide much-needed electricity cost reductions, the potential for energy efficiency measures and renewable energy generation deserve much greater consideration. In this Sustainable Electricity Roadmap for the Dominican Republic, the Worldwatch Institute conducts the technical, socioeconomic, financial, and policy assessments needed to create a smooth transition to an energy system that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.