The new government of the Dominican Republic will not invest in the construction of power plants, but will support private sector investments by domestic and foreign players, the newly-seated minister of energy and mines, Antonio Almonte, said Thursday.
The government of the recently sworn president, Luis Abinader, is not going to invest in another Punta Catalina, the minister said, referring to the namesake 752-MW coal-fired plant.
Anti-corruption organisation Transparency International has tied the building contract for the Punta Catalina project to a massive bribery and kick-back scheme carried out by Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
The new government will proceed to immediately update a 2007 law that regulates incentives for investments in renewable energy, to adapt it to the new circumstances, Almonte said.
The Law 57-07 offers tax incentives and exemptions to developers of projects as big as 120 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plants, as well as schemes such as micro- and mini-hydropower stations of up to 5 MW, as long as the electricity is delivered to the national grid.
While the Dominican Republic has enough megawatts to meet consumer demand, the Abinader administration will seek to bring down the costs of generation, at the same time trusting that the economy will recover so that demand increases, minister Almonte explained.
The Caribbean nation does not have commercially viable fossil fuel reserves of its own and relies on imports for power generation. According to the national statistics office, the Dominican Republic had around 4,571 MW of total installed capacity in 2019. Of this, some 1,106 MW came from wind, solar and hydropower.
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