The Ten Island Challenge continues to gain ground as a key initiative for renewable energy development on Caribbean islands, with the joining up of Belize. This follows other recent additions the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. [Engerati-Bahamas Takes On Renewable Energy Challenge and Turks & Caicos Joins Ten Island Challenge]
Like islands the world over, the Caribbean islands are reliant on imported fuels, which impacts the prices they pay for everything from electricity to food. This is further complicated by the added demand that tourism places on the island resources. Natural energy resources are abundant on islands. However, the systems required to use them have not been widely implemented and scaled.
The aim of the Challenge, an initiative of the Carbon War Room and Rocky Mountain Institute, with support from the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), is to identify technical and commercial solutions that can facilitate low-carbon use in the Caribbean.
Other participants to date include Aruba, Grenada, San Andres and Providencia (Colombia) and St. Lucia.
Belize to transition off fossil fuels
Through participation the government of Belize is committing to transition its remaining sectors, transportation and the outlying islands (the Cayes), off fossil fuels.
Key project areas will include:
• Exploring the potential for wind energy resources with the Government of Belize and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre
• Exploring the opportunities for transitioning the transportation sector on Belize’s Cayes from fossil fuels to electric vehicles
• Assisting Belize with policy and programmes for sustainable mobility
• Developing a partnership with Belize Electricity Limited to identify renewable energy opportunities
• Examining the potential for energy efficiency retrofits for hospitals across Belize, beginning with Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.
“This partnership will allow Belize to make significant strides in realizing its renewable energy production target of 89% in the electricity sector by 2033,” commented Senator Joy Grant, Belize’s minister of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities. “Achieving this milestone will also allow Belize to enhance its energy security and build its energy resiliency, while ensuring that it buffers its economy from the oil price shocks that have debilitating impacts on small, open economies like Belize.”
Collaboration to achieve low-carbon objectives
By working collaboratively, the partner organizations and the Government of Belize will develop and implement pathways that help Belize achieve its low-carbon objectives and create economic solutions for reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. These frameworks for the participating islands are developed independently, based on each island’s optimum energy future.
Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands is serving as a demo site and showcase for renewable energy solutions in the Caribbean.