Post-Hurricane Irma, British Virgin Islands accelerate the move to renewable energy

Tortola, BVI. Image: Gail Frederick.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the British Virgin Islands are looking to enhance their energy resilience and sustainability by turning to renewables:

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) were plunged into darkness for six months when Irma, packing winds of 185 miles per hour (295 kph), uprooted electricity poles and left 400 miles (645 km) of cable littering streets and hillsides.

Like many small islands, the territory has long relied on costly imported fossil fuels to generate electric power.

But to better withstand future disasters, it is now moving toward solar and geothermal alternatives, like many others in the region from Montserrat to St. Lucia.

A series of solar energy projects is due to kick off soon, said Mark Vanterpool, BVI minister for communications and works.

“It’s in our interest to work very hard at getting as much as possible renewable energy produced,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

If there is a silver lining to the trauma of a blanket power outage amid a humanitarian crisis, it is the growing urgency of bolstering the electricity grid with renewable energy, officials and observers say.

Before the hurricane, there was interest in green power, but people were “moving in different directions”, said Kaitlyn Bunker of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a U.S.-based non-profit helping the BVI with its renewable energy transition.

The experience of the hurricane has “catalysed” plans, she added.
On the main island of Tortola, a privately funded 3-megawatt solar project led by local firm Caribbean Alternative Energy is close to being agreed, BVIEC’s Abraham said.

The state utility, meanwhile, aims to set up a 300-kilowatt hybrid solar, wind and energy storage system on Anegada, a remote northern island, once an agreement to lease crown land is signed.

The deal, four years in the pipeline, only made headway after Irma, Abraham noted.

Read more in the full article from Thomson Reuters

[Image: Gail Frederick]

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Wind turbines. Image: Robert R. Gigliotti
BLOOM Cleantech Cluster Barbados

The BLOOM Cleantech Cluster Barbados is inviting applications to its business incubation and pre-incubation programmes, with a focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency. BLOOM is a national, sustainable energy and climate technology cluster based in Barbados, with a regional and international focus.  BLOOM coordinates and provides business advisory services …

Minesto Deep Green. Image: via Minesto
Government of Antigua and Barbuda signs ocean energy MoU

Media release — Swedish marine energy developer Minesto has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda. Through a feasibility study, facilitated by the United Nations Office for Project Services, the parties will explore the possibilities of supplying the Eastern Caribbean with renewable ocean energy by Minesto’s technology. Minesto …

Solar panels. Image credit: Pete Jelliffe
UAE funds renewable energy projects in Saint Lucia

The government of Saint Lucia will be embarking on several renewable energy projects with financial support from the second funding cycle of the United Arab Emirates-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund. Projects will include installation of photo-voltaic electricity generation systems at two schools, construction of a solar-powered charging station for electric vehicles …