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Lighthouse, BonaireBonaire is on its way to achieving its goals of being 100% powered by renewable energy:

The Caribbean island of Bonaire has been on a pretty interesting path energy-wise since 2004, when the island’s sole power plant burned to the ground. Given an opportunity to rebuild literally from the ground up, the government decided to create a plan that would lead them to 100 percent sustainable energy generation by the end of the following decade—which is getting closer and closer.

The first part of the plan called for a wind-diesel hybrid power plant that would gather the energy from 12 wind turbines and several small diesel generators to allow the island to have all the energy that it needs to sustain itself. The power plant came online in 2010, the wind turbines have been installed, and the diesel generators are already being put to use. The second stage of the project, and the part that is necessary to make the island truly 100% reliant on sustainable energy, is to switch from the conventional diesel that is currently powering the generators to biofuel from the algae that is available in the large salt pans on the southern part of the island.

The project hit a stumbling block in 2009 when its main backer went bankrupt, but a new investment group is on board, and the biofuel development portion of the project is now in its research phase, though it’s unclear when Bonaire might begin producing biofuel from its algae.

Once this biofuel is put into use, the wind turbines will be providing approximately 40 percent of the island’s total energy needs (the island consumes 75,000 megawatt hours of electricity in a typical year), while the biofuel/diesel generators will provide the remaining 60 percent. Once the plan is accomplished, the island’s inhabitants should see a reduction of at least 10 to 20 percent on their electricity bills.

Find out more in the original article from National Geographic, as well as in this previous Green Antilles post: Green energy in Bonaire.

[Photo: cliff hellis]


One Response to “Bonaire aiming for 100% renewable energy” Subscribe

  1. MRobinson October 13, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    The wind generators are a great advance for Bonaire, but the rest of story is much more complex and difficult, and we’re many years from replacing diesel (one of the most polluting of fuels) with biodiesel. We’re also very very far from a drop in energy prices. In fact Bonaire has the most expensive energy in all of the Caribbean, by a factor of 2 to 4. Our energy costs are about to be subsidized by the Netherlands because of the disparity between income and the recently doubled cost of energy. Does Green Antilles really want to publish puff pieces by tourism and industry, or does it want to promote a realistic take on greening the Caribbean? Please check your sources, do your homework and don’t just skim the web for “green” and “Antilles.” Bonaire’s energy issue IS an interesting story, but not because it’s a miracle story, but because it is a cautionary tale of the difficulties in going green.

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