Rafael Zapata

Caribbean Area Director, ISOFOTON

The solar park we are currently constructing will represent a rather small percentage at the national level. We expect to start its construction in the next couple of months and it will be finished within 10 months. The investment we have allocated for this project is about $150 million. However, we have the capacity to install about 300 MW of solar energy modules in the Dominican Republic, which would represent around 10% of the total energy it currently requires. Since the country is developing in economic and industrial terms, its energy needs will increase in the near future, and I believe renewable energy will play a vital role in covering its energy needs. The Dominican authorities play a significant role in the development of the industry. Currently, they buy the energy we provide through a recently signed power-purchase agreement. This agreement is a great step forward for the industry in this country, and I personally think that Enrique Ramírez, President of the National Energy Commission (CNE), and Celso Marranzini, Executive Vice-President of the Dominican Corporation of National Electric Companies (CDEEE), are key people for the sector, and they have always been very supportive of the industry. Each strongly believes in renewable energy as a strategic sector for the future of the country.

Gonzalo de Lusarreta

CEO, Globasol

By the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 the country will have roughly 300 MW of installed capacity in renewable energy. This capacity represents an investment of around $900 million. The cost of energy is among the highest in the region, and that's why the government and the Comisión Nacional de Energía (CNE) are working to support the development of renewable energy projects in the public and private sectors. Our company is specialized in biofuels. To go into detail, the US biofuel industry is currently employing 48,000 people, generating around $2 billion in terms of household income. It's our belief that the Dominican Republic was all the conditions to replicate the US model, as the country relies very much on energy imports and is negatively tied to the volatility of fuel prices worldwide. The bio-fuel industry can change that pattern and save millions of dollars through the use of renewable energy. At the same time, industry can save large amounts of money by shifting to renewable energy. Using biofuels offers great advantages to everyone; thanks to our expertise and experience, we expect to play an increasing role in the energy industry in future years.

Luciano Guido

International Business Developer, GEDER

Members of the Dominican government, including former President Leonel Fernández, approached the founder of the company in Spain in 2007. As part of his reelection campaign, the former President was looking for foreign investors to diversify the Dominican energy sector. GEDER decided to come to the Dominican Republic in June 2007 with senators, and they introduced the first renewable energy law ever. The law was passed in the Dominican congress one year later in May 2008, and it began a new era in renewable development projects in the Dominican Republic. The mindset of the people has changed. Over the years, politicians have changed their views; they now know the country needs renewable energy. The improved trade relations between the Dominican Republic and the US have also had an effect. President Obama's energy policies send a strong message to Latin American countries to be less dependent on fossil fuels, especially fuel from Venezuela. We need to find a way to help smaller countries achieve freedom through energy diversification. The process is also a lot quicker now, though. In the past, it could take four or five years to acquire a license; now it can be done in 12 months. The Dominican Republic-Caribbean Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) has also helped develop the sector.