Trinidad and Tobago: helping a negative record to go positive

Trinidad and Tobago is a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) that belongs to the archipelago of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea and with a population of 1.37 million inhabitants. Although its annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions account for less than 1 % of global emissions, the island has the second highest position in the world ranking of per-capita emissions, as stated in the Strategy for Reduction of Carbon Emissions in Trinidad and Tobago, by 2040. This unsettling situation is related to the country’s important oil and natural gas resources and its fossil-fuel-based economy. Power generation is almost exclusively based on fossil fuel.

Aware of these unnecessarily high per-capita emissions and willing to curb the present situation, Trinidad and Tobago is committed to reducing its overall emissions with 15 % from the business as usual (BAU) scenario by 2030.

This commitment was laid down in the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for implementation of the Paris Agreement, ratied by Trinidad and Tobago in February 2018.


solar gate


The estimated cost of meeting the NDC objective amounts to USD 2 billion. The European Union will support this through a EUR 4 million GCCA+ project – expected to start in 2019 and fully aligned with the NDC Implementation Plan – which will focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Concretely, the project will support:

  • Installation of a solar power park at Piarco International Airport (PIA). Significant GHG emissions at airports can be avoided when aircraft arrive at the gate by replacing the auxiliary power unit with solar energy. The concept, known as the ‘solar-at-gate’ mechanism, has already been successfully applied elsewhere (e.g. in Jamaica). The GCCA+ project will support the installation of one of the required solar parks with an annual capacity of 1 443 830 kWh and the potential to avoid emissions of 1 010 metric tonnes of CO2 each year.


  • Installation of small-scale grid-connected solar power systems. Supporting the ongoing shift towards renewable energy sources, the project will provide public utilities and remote communities with solar energy systems. Apart from making clean and sustainable energy available to the direct beneficiaries, capacity will be built within the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries.
  • Adjusted policies and regulations in the energy sector. The project will provide technical assistance to support the design of new operational systems, inspection, monitoring and certification schemes. It will develop a series of incentives (e.g. to replace old, low-efficient electrical appliances) to save energy and to increase the use of renewable energy.
  • Public awareness-raising campaign on energy efficiency, renewable energy and correct pricing. Pending the expected increases in the electricity tariff to reflect real costs, coupled with the general lack of concern for energy conservation, an awareness campaign should be instrumental in promoting the transition from an energy-inefficient culture to a more sustainable, energy-conserving society.