Drum roll please. The Tiburon grid is…ready to go, but still not on!
We’re thrilled to share that the EarthSpark’s long-anticipated second grid in the town of Tiburon is ready for the switch to be thrown. Technical testing saw streetlights blazing across the town and customers are now signing up and getting their homes and businesses wired up for power.
The catch? In an evolving legal and regulatory environment, we’re dotting our I’s and crossing our T’s and defining what constitutes operational approval from local and the relatively new national authorities. It’s hard to say whether the people of Tiburon or the EarthSpark team is more anxious to see the grid turned on, but we want to do it well and in collaboration with all of the relevant authorities. June 24 is a big holiday in Tiburon, so we’re hoping that we’ll all be able to find clarity before then to be able to power up the party (and the town!)
While the evolving regulatory challenges are a frustrating delay, they are a part of a broader shift for Haitian microgrids, and that is excellent news. When EarthSpark launched our first microgrid in 2012, our work was considered extremely fringe and essentially irrelevant to the national energy policy framework. When we expanded that grid in 2015 to be a ‘town-sized solar-powered smart grid’, policymakers took notice. Our 2015 National Microgrid Market Study furthered the discussion and became a benchmark document referenced by national and international authorities on rural electrification for Haiti.
Our steady work of “Proving what is possible” and “De-risking by doing” has not been fast, but it has been constant. We are now (finally!) seeing the shift that recognizes clean energy community microgrids as essential elements of solving energy access in Haiti. There are growing pains associated with that shift: new regulators, new rules, but we are working with the stakeholders to try to make sure that the outcomes enable EarthSpark’s broader goal of mainstreaming microgrids and specifically “moving microgrids towards market” in Haiti. For broad deployment of microgrids, smart regulation and clear policies are essential.
We’ll let you know as soon as we are able to flip that switch on in Tiburon, and we’ll keep you posted, as always, as we work to continue pushing and proving what is possible for community-centered rural electrification in Haiti.
Warm summer regards,
Allison and the rest of the EarthSpark team
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