Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Ditching Fossil Fuels and Switching to 100% Renewables No Problem, Says Stanford Study

June 22, 2015

| June 11, 2015 12:30 pm | Comments

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Is it possible for the U.S. to ditch fossil fuels? The answer is yes, according to researchers and engineers from Stanford University and U.C. Berkeley, who have developed a state-by-state plan to convert the country to 100 percent renewable energy in less than 40 years.

Stanford researchers have developed 50-state road map to a clean, renewable energy U.S. by 2050. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Stanford researchers have a developed 50-state roadmap to a clean,

renewable energy

future. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The study, published in the Energy and Environmental Sciences, showcases how each state can replace fossil fuels by tapping into renewable resources available in each state, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and even small amounts of tidal and wave power.

The report, led by Stanford civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson and U.C. Berkeley researcher Mark Delucchi, argues that converting the current energy infrastructure into renewable energy will help fight climate change, save lives by eliminating air pollution, create jobs and also stabilize energy prices.

You can check out an interactive map summarizing the plans for each state at The Solutions Project, an organization of scientists, business leaders and other forward-thinking minds with a mission of accelerating the world’s transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

The project’s concept has attracted high-profile funders including the Elon Musk Foundation and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, according to The Plaid Zebra.

The Elon Musk Foundation and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation are helping to fund this project.

Board members of The Solutions Project include notable environmental advocates including filmmaker and founder of the the International WOW Company Josh Fox, co-founder and president of Mosaic Billy Parish, and actor and noted environmentalist Mark Ruffalo.

Undoubtedly, the plan involves a lot of difficult and expensive changes, but the authors believe that the complete transition to renewables is economically and technically viable.

“The main barriers are social, political and getting industries to change. One way to overcome the barriers is to inform people about what is possible,” Jacobson said. “By showing that it’s technologically and economically possible, this study could reduce the barriers to a large scale transformation.”

According to a news release, the study’s authors examined each state’s current energy usage in four sectors: residential, commercial, industrial and transportation. For each sector, they then analyzed the current amount and source of the fuel consumed—coal, oil, gas, nuclear and renewables—and calculated what the fuel demands would be if replaced with electricity. (This includes all the cars on the road becoming electric, as well as homes and businesses fully converting to electric heating and cooling systems). They then calculated how this new electric grid could be powered using only

renewable energy

resources available in each state.

“When we did this across all 50 states, we saw a 39 percent reduction in total end-use power demand by the year 2050,” Jacobson said. “About 6 percentage points of that is gained through efficiency improvements to infrastructure, but the bulk is the result of replacing current sources and uses of combustion energy with electricity.”

Check out South Carolina, for instance (you can see the infographics for the other 49 states here):

Not only is a fossil fuel-free South Carolina is possible, doing so would create nearly 100 thousand clean-energy jobs. Photo Credit: The Solutions Project
Not only is a fossil fuel-free South Carolina possible, doing so would create nearly 100,000 clean-energy jobs. Photo Credit: The Solutions Project

The good news is that several states are already on their way. For example, Washington state already meets 70 percent of its current electricity needs from existing hydroelectric sources.

Yes, the upfront cost of the massive conversion would be expensive, however the study’s authors argue it would even out over time and the environmental benefits are clear.

“When you account for the health and climate costs—as well as the rising price of fossil fuels—wind, water and solar are half the cost of conventional systems,” Jacobson said. “A conversion of this scale would also create jobs, stabilize fuel prices, reduce pollution-related health problems and eliminate emissions from the United States. There is very little downside to a conversion, at least based on this science.”

Check out Jacobson’s 2013 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, where he explains his plan of transitioning the country to clean energy.


Costa Rica Powered Entirely by Renewables So Far This Year

March 24, 2015

The country's tropical climate with high rainfall, mountainous interior and low population gives it a distinct advantage in terms of renewable energy. (photo:
The country’s tropical climate with high rainfall, mountainous interior and low population gives it a distinct advantage in terms of renewable energy. (photo:

By Tierny Smith, tck tck tck

23 March 15


or the last 82 days, Costa Rica has powered itself using only renewable energy sources.

That means the Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015.

Last week, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced that 100 percent of the country’s electricity came from renewables for the first 75 days of the year, as heavy rains boosted the country’s hydroelectric power plants.

Wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy have also helped power the country.

Costa Rica is one of the most developed countries in Latin America and ranks above some European Union countries in annual prosperity rankings.

The country also boasts strong green credentials on energy policy.

In 2009, it announced a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2021, and the country already gets around 88 percent of its total electricity from renewable sources.

The country’s tropical climate with high rainfall, mountainous interior and low population gives it a distinct advantage in terms of renewable energy.

Its reliance on renewables prompted the country to lower electricity rates by 12 percent, and the ICE predicts they could continue to drop in the second quarter of the year.

However, the country’s reliance on hydroelectricity—which provides 68 percent of the country’s electricity—also makes it vulnerable to climate change. Any change to rainfall patterns could disrupt its supply.

In addition to hydroelectricity, Costa Rica receives 15 percent of its electricity needs from geothermal plants, while five percent is supplied by wind.

Solar and biomass also contribute to the country’s energy mix.

A Clean Energy Future Is Possible: A Message for the 4th Anniversary of Fukushima

March 15, 2015
Published on

‘The Fukushima disaster shows us exactly why we cannot and should not try to rely on nuclear energy to solve the climate crisis.’

“Ringing the bell on climate change.” (Photo: Light Brigading/flickr/cc)

Just ahead of the four-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, five organizations have issued a message that the only way to avert climate disaster is by embracing a clean energy future.

It was March 11, 2011 when the Great East Japan earthquake caused a massive tsunami which triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and destroyed thousands of lives and livelihoods.

Signs that the disaster is ongoing are clear: nearly a quarter-million Japanese people arestill displaced, radioactive trash has piled up in the affected region, radiation levels remain elevated, and clean-up efforts at the plant continue amid leaks.  And despite public opposition, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues his push to restart nuclear plants.

But “there is a better way,” the Make Nuclear History website states.

The new site, which offers a humorous new video launched by the organizations—Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Nuclear Information and Research Service (NIRS), Public Citizen and Sierra Club—adds: “There is a way to power our lives without fossil fuels. There is a solution to climate change without nuclear energy. There is a future where we can solve the climate crisis and power our lives from 100 percent renewable sources and energy efficiency. Now is the time to create our fossil and nuclear-free future.”

“Now is the time to create our fossil and nuclear-free future.”The interactive video shows three energy paths—fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewable energy—to highlight the problems, like higher carbon footprints and environmental and health impacts, of failing to switch to wind and solar.

The projected future under the fossil fuel and nuclear energy scenarios are depicted as apocalyptic.

“If the goal is heading off climate change, nuclear power and next generation fossil fuels are just an expensive and dangerous distraction,” the video’s renewable champion states.

The new site also invites viewers to take action on specific campaigns from the groups, like Public Citizen’s campaign to urge the NRC to enforce a dozen safety recommendations for nuclear reactors that were issued after the Fukushima disaster; and Sierra Club’s campaign to urge members of Congress to phase out nuclear power and commit to 100% renewable energy.

“The Fukushima disaster shows us exactly why we cannot and should not try to rely on nuclear energy to solve the climate crisis,” said Tim Judson, Executive Director of NIRS. “Japan’s decision to invest in nuclear rather than renewables left the country totally unprepared when calamity struck. Clean, renewable energy sources are abundant, affordable, and ready to go. They can replace nuclear and fossil fuels, which are two sides of the dirty, extreme energy coin.”

Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard adds: “The Fukushima disaster is a constant reminder that nuclear energy is a dirty and dangerous distraction from real solutions like wind and solar. We should commit to rejecting costly nuclear pipe dreams and supporting the renewable efforts that can help avert our climate crisis.”

Watch the introductory video below:

Share This Article


March 13, 2015

Harvey Wasserman, The World Community Must Take Charge at Fukushima Campaign

Mar 11

Harvey Wasserman EcoWatchThe catastrophe that began at Fukushima four years ago today is worse than ever.

But the good news can ultimately transcend the bad—if we make it so.
An angry grassroots movement has kept shut all 54 reactors that once operated in Japan.

It’s the largest on-going nuke closure in history. Big industrial windmills installed off the

Fukushima coast are now thriving.
Five U.S. reactors have shut since March 11, 2011. The operable fleet is under 100 for the first time in



Read the rest at


California communities seize control of their energy futures

February 26, 2015

An energy revolution is breaking out in California and a few other states, one that could radically increase the amount of renewable energy available to citizens and end the tyranny of foot-dragging utilities. Outside of the rapidly falling costs of solar power, it’s just about my main source of domestic optimism these days.

I’m talking about community choice, or, in the horrid legalese, “community choice aggregation.” I’ve discussed it before in passing, but it’s starting to seriously catch on, so I want to take a closer look.

Say a town, city, or county is dissatisfied with the power it gets from its utility — it’s too expensive, or too dirty. One option would be for each municipality to leave its utility and form its own “municipal utility.” That has its advantages, but it’s a pretty huge step, since the municipality would have to take over not only power procurement but grid operation and maintenance, billing, customer service, etc. In many smaller towns, it’s not practical.

The other, emerging option is community choice aggregation, whereby a county or municipality takes over only the job of buying and selling power, leaving grid management and billing to the utility. It aggregates customers from every participating city, town, and county and uses their collective purchasing power to procure exactly the kind of electricity it wants.

The two main motivations to opt for CCA are cheaper power and cleaner power. At least to date, those two goals have not come into conflict. In most cases, CCAs get power that’s cheaper and cleaner than what they were getting from their utility. (Whether those goals conflict in the future will be of keen interest.)

CCA must be enabled by legislation and it has been in six states: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Rhode Island. According to the website Local Power, which tracks these things:

Today, 5% of the U.S. population is under CCA service for electricity in 1300 municipalities, including well-known population centers like City of Chicago, Cincinnati, Cape Cod, Sonoma County as well as hundreds of less known small towns and rural counties. CCA formation by municipal ordinance or local election is allowed and provided for under state laws governing 25% of the U.S. electricity market.

California has been particularly on the ball. Marin County startedthe state’s first CCA program — it now serves 125,000 customers. Sonoma County has followed suit. San Mateo County isconsidering it; county supervisors just voted to do a study of the proposal. The mayor of San Francisco, who’s running for reelection this year, has reversed his previous opposition to the city joining a CCA. Now he says his only objection was that there wasn’t enough local power required!

Perhaps the most interesting battle is happening in San Diego. Whereas San Francisco represents only about 5 percent of utility giant PG&E’s customer base, San Diego represents over 40 percent of San Diego Gas & Electric’s. That’s a big chunk to lose!

CCA is a key part of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, which among other things commits the city to a legally binding target of 100 percent renewables by 2035. There is effectively no way for it to hit that target if it has to accept whatever power SDG&E sees fit to buy for it.

There have been various efforts to kill CCA at the state level, some supported by the state chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), many of whose members work for utilities. The local San Diego chapter of IBEW, however, supports the city’s 100 percent renewables target. The fate of the San Diego’s climate plan, or at least CCA’s place in the plan, remainsuncertain. It if did go through, it would represent something of a watershed for the CCA movement.

CCAs vary from place to place, but Cali’s share a few common features. They are opt-out rather than opt-in — customers can choose to remain with the utility, but they have to affirmatively indicate as much. That alone ensures high participation rates (readers of Nudge will understand why).

There are tiers of participation: in Marin, you can choose a base level 50 percent renewables or pay a premium for 100 percent renewables; in Sonoma, it’s 33 percent or 100 percent. Some also include a premium option for 100 percent local renewables. The tiered system allows low-income customers to choose an affordable option while more eco-minded or well-off residents can indulge their aspirations.

CCA can also give a huge boost to a bunch of other policies that utilities typically fight or slow-walk, including net metering, feed-in tariffs, and efficiency programs. This post by Woody Hastingslists a few of the benefits that came along with the Sonoma County CCA. In addition to the basic benefit — giving those consumers more choices in energy — it also has 30 percent lower emissions than the utility, and it boasts rates that are 5 to 8 percent lower than the utility’s (depending on the tier).

Sonoma’s CCA features a robust net metering program, “NetGreen,” that compensates solar customers better than the utility. It features a version of my own favorite policy, feed-in tariffs, in the form of “ProFiT,” which guarantees clean energy developers favorable terms for the power they feed into the grid. It has doubled the amount of solar in Sonoma County’s energy mix and established power purchase agreements for 70 megawatts of new solar. And it will bring the level of geothermal in the county’s mix up to around 23 percent by 2018.

Perhaps best of all, enrollment in the plan’s phase-one rollout was much higher than expected: 85 percent of customers stayed with the CCA.

Not every CCA is going to spur all those policies. But that’s kind of the point: they will enable the exact mix of policies that best expresses the needs and values of their customers. It will give consumers some power and agency in the process, something they haven’t had for some time.

Is CCA power really cheaper? At least in California, at least so far, yes. These charts come via San Diego reporter Lisa Halverstadt:

As you can see, the Marin and Sonoma CCAs are charging slightly lower rates than the utilities they left behind, despite providing substantially more clean energy.

How do they do it? This post from lawyer Ty Tosdal hits the basics. First, CCA represents competition for utilities, putting pressure on them to keep costs down and keep customers happy. (Utilities aren’t used to competition, to say the least.) And this:

An alternative energy provider behaves differently than a utility. CCA programs, for example, have used the political and legal process to advocate for lower transmission and distribution charges, utility fees and rates in general. You’re not going to see that kind of advocacy from utilities, who must serve shareholders, or regulators that are struggling with proper oversight.

(If you read the linked story, you’ll see that “struggling with proper oversight” is a rather charitable characterization.)

In other words, CCA provides not just an economic and environmental but a civic counterweight to utilities. It enables electricity consumers to organize on behalf of their interests and values. Why, you could almost call it democratic.

Naturally California utilities hate this. Just hate it. In all the stories I read, this passage was the most poignant:

A PG&E representative did not respond to a request for comment. A 2011 law prohibits the company from using ratepayer revenue to market against community choice aggregation.

Aww. I doubt utilities will be similarly restrained in other states. Watch for them to go after CCA with even greater fury than they’ve attacked net metering. It is a strike directly at the heart of their business model.

For all the same reasons utilities hate CCA, I love it. It completely cuts through the utility Gordian knot — the tangle of restructured and unrestructured regions, corrupt PUCs and broken business models, obscure political maneuvering and big-money deals — and puts power directly in the public’s hands. It opens up opportunities for all the talk about Utilities 2.0 to become reality, to start experimenting in the real world.

Most of all, it enables citizens who want clean energy to get it. That seems like the kind of thing Americans could rally around.

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Portland Installs Turbines in City Water Pipes, Powers City by Flushing Toilets

February 26, 2015

Greg Semler, the CEO of Lucid Energy. (photo: Mind)
Greg Semler, the CEO of Lucid Energy. (photo: Mind)

By Minds

26 February 15


he turbines work where water is flowing downhill, and are already recouping some of the energy cost in keeping the water system running. When fully in place, these pipe generators can power hundreds of thousands of homes.

Gregg Semler, CEO of Lucid Energy, followed his dream of “helping water become more sustainable” by developing this smart piping system. Not only are they electricity generators, they also have state of the art sensors to detect change in water pressure to keep pipes from bursting, and the ability to detect if drinking water is contaminated.


UK Makes Plans for Largest Offshore Wind Farm in the World

February 24, 2015


The UK is a sustainable energy forerunner like no other. And now the government is beefing up their already productive offshore wind power with plans to build the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

The UK already hosts seven of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, making it a sustainable energy forerunner like no other, but that isn’t stopping them from even more grandiose plans. The government has given consent for the building of the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

Dogger Bank Creyke Beck will sit in the North Sea approximately 81 miles from the UK coast, and cover 8660 square kilometers. This means that the wind farm will be only slightly smaller than the country of Puerto Rico.

The UK already has more offshore wind power than all of Europe combined. The Dogger Bank project will have enough capacity (2.4 gigawatts) to power 1.8 million households, coming only second in power to the Drax coal-fired energy station in North Yorkshire.

Though the project gained consent from government regulators, it has yet to be built, and the process for its realization is a long, and sometimes tedious one. A collection of British and Norwegian countries is backing the project, and pre-construction is expected to last into 2019.

Much of the mega wind farm’s financing will come from subsidies. A UK general election in May could promote renewable energy or cause interest to grow stale, depending on the outcome. All energy projects in the UK have to bid for the same pot of government subsidies.

Experts agree that the US has great potential for wind energy as well. Even taking into account that wilderness areas and national parks, as well as other areas which are unlikely to be developed, such as some urban areas and water bodies, mass swaths of US land, even in areas you wouldn’t expect, are prime for wind harnessing.

A recent study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University also showswhich areas would be best to build wind farms in the US.  Oddly enough, New Jersey would offer more overall benefits than Arizona.  A wind farm built in West Virginia would be more beneficial than one in California.

New technologies are also making wind turbines not only more eco-friendly, (i.e., they won’t turn 50,000-plus birds into a mess of feathers and bird song annually) but more efficient. ‘Wind-lens’ turbine-less wind technology candouble or even triple conventional wind turbine power.


January 21, 2015




Ohio’s Anti-Green Suicide

Harvey Wasserman | January 20, 2015 9:41 am | CommentsSwing state Ohio is plunging ever deeper into the fossil/nuke abyss.Its Public Utilities Commission may soon gouge the public for $3 billion(BILLION!) to subsidize two filthy 50-year-old coal burners and America’s most dangerous nuke.

Approval would seal Ohio’s death notice.

Ohioans speak out against the $3 billion bailout to subsidize coal plants and the Davis-Besse nuclear plant owned by its unregulated affiliate, FirstEnergy Solutions. Photo credit: Ohio Citizen ActionNone of those coal/nuke burners can compete with the rising revolution in renewable energy. Throughout the world, similar outmoded facilities are shutting down.

In 2001, Ohio deregulated its electric markets. But the state’s nuke owners demanded nearly $10 billion in “stranded cost” handouts so the obsolete Davis-Besse and Perry reactors on Lake Erie could allegedly compete with more efficient technologies.

Today, despite the huge subsidies, renewables and fracked gas have completely priced them out of the market.

Davis-Besse—a Three Mile Island clone—is infamous worldwide for its horrific breakdowns, including two of the five worst in U.S. history since 1979 as listed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ….


Denmark Sets New Wind Power World Record

January 18, 2015
From: Leon Kaye , Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published January 9, 2015 08:47 AM

Denmark has long been one of the world’s leaders in wind power. The country of 5.6 million has set a goal of generating 50 percent of its power from clean energy sources by 2020 and aims to be entirely fossil fuel-free by 2050. Those goals, especially the one for 2020, are well achievable: Denmark has announced it scored 39.1 percent of its energy from wind in 2014.

That statistic is quite a jump from 2013, when Denmark generated 33.2 percent of its electricity from wind, and it has more than doubled its wind power capacity from a decade ago (18.8 percent). The result is a country that has understandably dubbed itself the world’s “Wind Power Hub.” Considering the Danish wind industry’s claim that it has built over 90 percent of the world’s offshore wind turbines, Denmark’s continued surge in wind power development, while stunning, has its origins in long-term planning.

Denmark’s wind energy policy dates back to the 1970s, when the oil shocks resulting from the Middle East crises sent the energy import-dependent nation scrambling for new sources of power. At first nuclear energy was the preferred choice, with up to 16 locations across the country identified for future power plants. But an anti-nuclear energy campaign launched, eventually nudging the Danish parliament to abandon that option by the mid-1980s — even before the Chernobyl disaster spooked many countries into abandoning their more ambitious nuclear power plans. Meanwhile a nascent wind power sector began to take shape, eventually leading to today’s giants such as Vestas and DONG Energy. Long before feed-in tariffs became commonplace in Europe, the Danish government launched such programs in 1990 to help scale wind power throughout the country.

Now Denmark has over 5,200 wind turbines in operation, with about 25 percent of those offshore. The Danish government is offering strong support for its wind power sector, with approximately €135 million ($200 million) earmarked for wind power research and development and other energy technologies annually. Meanwhile coal, long the backbone of Denmark’s energy infrastructure, is slowly being phased out. Denmark estimates less than 30 percent of its energy needs will come from coal by 2020.

Continue reading at ENN affiliate, Triple Pundit.

Caribbean Island Says Goodbye Fossil Fuels, Hello 100% Renewable Electricity

January 11, 2015


Many Caribbean Islands, including the island of Bonaire, once relied solely on fossil fuels for their residents, but now use renewable energy. Bonaire is on the verge of becoming 100% environmentally friendly with renewable energy sources.

Bonaire (pop. 14,500), a small island off the coast of Venezuela, is famous for its beautiful marine reefs, which are visited by 70,000 tourists every year. What many of the tourists don’t realize is that the majority of the electricity powering their needs comes from renewable energy. Yet for the residents of Bonaire, the switch from fossil-fueled to renewable energy systems has made a world of difference.

Like many Caribbean islands, Bonaire originally relied on diesel fuel to generate electricity for residents, with a peak demand of 11 megawatts (MW). This fuel had to be shipped in from other nations, resulting in high electricity prices for Bonaire residents, along with uncertainty about when and how much prices might increase with changing fuel costs.

In 2004, everything changed when a fire destroyed the existing diesel power plant. Although tragic, the situation provided an opportunity for Bonaire to consider what kind of new electricity system to build. Temporary diesel generators were rented to provide power for the short term. Meanwhile, the government and local utility began working together to create a plan that would allow Bonaire to reach a goal of generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Bonaire’s Electricity System Transformation

The result is a transformed electricity system on Bonaire. The island is now home to 12 wind turbines with a total of 11 MW of wind power capacity, which contribute up to 90 percent of the island’s electricity at times of peak wind, and 40-45 percent of its annual electricity on average. Battery storage (6 MWh) is included in order to take advantage of available power in times of excess wind, and provide that stored electricity in times of low wind. The battery also boosts the reliability of the overall system—it is capable of providing 3 MW for over two minutes, allowing time for additional generation to be started when there is a sudden drop in wind.

The Bonaire system also includes 14 MW of diesel generation, five total generators, which provide the necessary power to meet the load when there is not enough wind power available. The generators are equipped to run on both traditional diesel as well as biodiesel. The next steps in the island’s energy transformation involve using local algae resources, grown in the large salt flats on the island, to create biofuel, which can then be used in the existing generators. This will allow Bonaire to operate a 100 percent renewable electricity system—with on average 40–45 percent from wind and 55-60 percent from biodiesel.

The new electricity system led to more reliable electricity, more employment opportunities, reduced dependence on oil (and its fluctuating prices), and a reduction in electricity bills. Bonaire residents currently pay $0.22/kWh for electricity, much lower than prices on other nearby Caribbean islands, which are often $0.36/kWh or above. When oil prices spiked in 2008, while Bonaire was still using temporary diesel generators before making its transition to renewables, electricity prices on the island reached $0.50/kWh. The new electricity system also created jobs for the construction and ongoing operation of the wind farm, and for research and development of algae production capabilities and conversion to biofuel. Additional employment opportunities will be created for continuing algae production and operation of the biodiesel plant.

The success of the updated electricity system on Bonaire provides an important example to other nearby islands of the opportunity to achieve high levels of renewable energy penetration.

Why Did Bonaire Make the Switch to Renewables?

Two aspects unique to Bonaire’s situation may have contributed to the decision to switch to a 100 percent renewable electricity system. One driver may have been Bonaire’s status as a special municipality within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This provides a connection with the Netherlands and Europe in general, where many countries have incorporated large amounts of wind and other renewable sources of electricity. Nearby Aruba, also a Dutch Caribbean island, has a wind farm as well, which provides up to 20 percent of the island’s electricity. There may be a common theme of islands with ties to European countries moving to renewables more quickly than others. In the case of Bonaire, the consortium that is developing the project, Ecopower Bonaire BV, is made up of Dutch and German companies.

Secondly, Bonaire’s government and local electricity provider were presented with an opportunity to build a new renewable electricity system since they needed to replace the plant that was damaged. Many other Caribbean islands still have existing diesel resources that are not at the end of their lifetime. These existing generators may remain a part of the electricity system, especially as renewables are incrementally added to the system, and may even remain as backup power for a transformed system that operates mostly with renewables. However, if some or all of the existing diesel resources on an island are completely shut down before the end of their available lifetime, that island will need to consider the sunk costs involved and incorporate that into their overall energy transformation plan.

Bonaire as Inspiration for the Caribbean

Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room’s ongoing Ten Island Challenge works with Caribbean islands to utilize their local renewable resource potential to transform electricity systems and provide a renewable, reliable, secure and affordable energy supply for their citizens. One of the participating islands is Aruba, which neighbors Bonaire and forms part of the ABC islands in the Netherlands Antilles, along with Curacao. Although the shift to renewables on Bonaire is not part of the Ten Island Challenge, Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room’s ongoing work in the area will strive to spread the success that Bonaire has achieved to the rest of the region, so that more Caribbean islands can take advantage of efficient and renewable electricity systems.


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