TORTOLA: At least three Caribbean countries have committed themselves to using renewable sources of energy, including wind, solar and the planet’s heat to generate electricity.
St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), signed a pact last week that will help implement near-term, demonstrative renewable solutions in schools, hospitals, public transport, tourism and utility scale renewable energy.
The agreement was signed during a meeting organized by the Carbon War Room, a nonprofit organization chaired by Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group.
Sir Richard said islands in the Caribbean have extremely high electricity costs and the new renewable projects could help reduce it.
“What we hope to do is use Necker as a test island to show how it can be done,” he said. “The only way we’re going to win this war is by creative entrepreneurship, to make the price of clean energy cheaper than that of energy from fossil fuels.”
Former Costa Rica president, José María Figueres, who is now president of the Carbon War Room, said Caribbean islands, like elsewhere, lack access to low-cost power because of the small size of the market.
St. Lucia’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Dr. James Fletcher, said the island has been testing the use of solar on various buildings, but it also plans to explore wind and geothermal development.
“With our economy, with the level of unemployment that we have, if you can create some more green jobs, if you can reduce some of the expenditures that we’re seeing right now, particularly on oil, it would increase the island’s economic competitiveness,” he said.