CARIBBEAN ISLANDS AGREE TO SWAP DIESEL POWER FOR RENEWABLE SOURCES
Last Thursday, several Caribbean nations committed to start replacing diesel generators with renewable energy sources. The countries signed the agreement at a meeting hosted by the Carbon War Room, an organization cofounded by British billionaire Richard Branson to fight climate change. Historically, Caribbean islands have had very high electricity costs and have relied heavily on diesel generators for power. As a result, the islands have a significant opportunity to pursue green energy, according to Lynn Tabernacki, managing director of renewable energy programs at the U.S. government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation. While in most markets, renewables struggle to achieve grid parity, the cost of energy in the Caribbean is currently so high that a shift toward renewables would have a significant economic benefit. Branson plans to use his privately owned Necker Island as a test site to show that renewable projects can lower the cost of electricity on islands, and last week he signed a deal with NRG Energy to install solar and wind power on Necker, covering about 80% of the island’s energy needs. Several Caribbean countries have already begun pursuing renewable energy projects. St. Lucia is testing the use of solar power, while Aruba already has one wind farm and plans to add more. For the full story, see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/business/energy-environment/caribbean-islands-agree-to-swap-diesel-power-for-renewable-sources.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0 and http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/branson-hosts-renewable-energy-summit-in-caribbean/2014/02/04/4d68075a-8dc1-11e3-99e7-de22c4311986_story.html.